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City Hall revamp to improve bill paying experience
Unhappy lines of city utility bill payer should not be backing up out of the doors of City Hall after the city completes a remodeling the former City Council Chambers.

The old chambers is unrecognizable from the former home of council meetings during the 1960s through 2008. Work on the $182,450 project is expected to be completed by the end of the year, allowing the "White Room" at City Hall to be expanded into a larger Finance Department with more pay station windows.

Currently those paying their bills are confined to a small reception area which can be filled up and spill over due to the availability of only two windows to transact payments. This often causes people to stand in line out of the building and sometimes exposing them to inclement weather. Public Works Director Michael Brinton also noted that there are no bathroom facilities readily available for those waiting.

By remodeling the old chambers, the city expects to create a lobby with five pay stations so that bill payers can be protected from the heat and cold and rain. Restrooms are located just outside the room, too, Brinton noted.

Typically it's those making a last-minute in-person cash payment to avoid a water service shut-off who form the lines at City Hall. In cases where the water bill payment is not late, city officials noted that residents can pay their water and sewer bills through the city's website, With online bill pay, resident may:

• Get email notification when a billing statement is available;

• Access utility bills online;

• Access a billing statement history online;

• Pay a bill quickly and economically

• Sign up for automatic pay and never pay late.

There is also a drive-up utility bill payment box located at City Hall on the corner of Second and Magnolia streets. A traffic lane on the right side of the box allows users to easily deposit payments from the driver's side of a vehicle.

The City of Ceres Finance Department accepts VISA and MasterCard debit and credit cards for payments at the customer service counter.