TARBORO — Tarboro Mayor Joe Pitt on Tuesday declared a state of emergency, enabling the Town Council to consider and unanimously approve a resolution suspending the disconnection of utilities as well as the charging of late payment and delinquent fees for non-payment.

The action was taken at an emergency meeting of the council and will remain in effect until rescinded by the council.

Under the resolution, affected customers must work out a reasonable pay arrangement, not to exceed six months from their due date.

Town officials emphasized that bills are not being waived during the period of the state of emergency and customers who are able are strongly encouraged to continue to make timely payments, as the longer services continue without payment, the more difficult it may be to catch up when the crisis ends.

The action was taken as the result of an increasing number of residents either finding themselves out of work or working reduced hours and an increasing number of queries as to what the town would do in response.