Residents will pay more to wash water down the drain starting next month.

The City Council voted Tuesday to restructure the rate system to bring in more money for sewer maintenance and capital improvement projects.The monthly flat fee will drop 29 cents to $4.26. Meanwhile, the usage charge will go up 17 cents to 69 cents per 100 cubic feet of water consumed.

Households will pay an average of about $14.36 a month under the new fee schedule, an increase of $1.26.

Fees are also slated to increase 5 percent a year through 2001.