A Prince William County Circuit Court judge refused yesterday to order Manassas Park to resume water service to 35 homeowners who were cut off Monday for failing to pay two-month-old bills.
Judge Arthur Sinclair told a Manassas park citizen's group protesting water bills that were increased by as much as 400 per cent that he would be willing to order the city to restore service if the protesters would pay the amount owed into a court-administered account.
Early indications were that most protesters would be willing to do soo, according to Jud Fischel, the group's attorney.
Another avenue of relief was closed to the protesters yesterday when Dr. Herbert Coone, director of the county's health department, decided not to recommend that state health department authorities order. Manassas park to restore water service.
Coone said he did not consider the situation at Manassas Park to be a health hazard, although he said it could become one if several homes went without water for a week or more.
There were indications that the protest was losing momentum as seven of the 35 delinquent owners went to the city treasurer's office late yesterday to pay their water bills, according to a city spokesman.
Another five homes where water had been cut off Monday were discovered by city officials to have been vacant for some time. The increased water bills were caused by cost overruns at a regional sewage treatment plant used by the city.
Tr for add two
Fischel said the protesters are not defeated and predicted that home owners will refuse to pay again at the next water billing date at the end of November.
On Saturday the citizen's group, known as the Concerned Citizen's of the City of Manassas Park, will hold a bazaar at Manassas Park Shopping Center to raise money for legal fees.