Residents here will be paying more for their culinary water after Jan. 1, according to a recent vote by the City Council.

Homeowners will be paying $7.25 a month instead of $7 for the first 7,000 gallons of water used.Residents who live west of 350 East will pay 72 cents per 1,000 gallons over the 7,000-gallon minimum, up from 60 cents, and those living east of 350 East will be paying 82 cents per 1,000 gallons over the minimum, up from 70 cents a month.

A public hearing was held at City Hall prior to the council voting for the rate increase, but there was no one in the audience to comment on the water rate proposals.

Councilman Kenneth Millard said he feels "the low citizen attendance at public hearings indicates their vote of confidence in the administration and shows they feel the City Council works responsibly."

Mayor D. W. "Jake" Simmons said the rate increase will generate about $37,000 annually and is not as much as the city's auditor recommended, "but it will be a step in the right direction."

The city's water department budget is $426,000, of which $100,500 annually goes to pay off bonds that were used to build a $1 million water improvement project recently.