The Missouri-American Water Company today begins hearings over a controversial rate increase. The company hopes to spread-out the 50-percent increase for a new water plant in St. Joseph…to other communities that don’t use the plant. Missouri-American is trying to pay for the 70 (M) million dollar water plant in St. Joseph with increases in St. Joe…and in Audrain and St. Charles Counties. Attorney for Missouri-American Trip England…says they’ve collapsed improvements at plants all over the state into this single increase. England says the company is simply trying to spread-out the pain. As for the complaint the St. Joseph plant is turning out some bad water…he says its just different. England believes Missouri-American has in the last 2 weeks fixed most of the water problems that some residents complained created a smelly…oily mess. A decision on the rate increase is expected in the fall.