The District auditor has recommended that the city council postpone for one year this fall's scheduled elections of advisory neighborhood commissioners. He said the postponement would give the council time to redraw the city's ward boundaries to take into account recent population shifts.

In a report to the council made public yesterday, D.C. Auditor Matthew S. Watson said that future ANC elections should be held in even-numbered years, concurrent with elections for city council, a change that would reduce the cost of conducting the balloting. Combining the elections, he said, also would encourage greater voter interest in the ANC contests.

Watson recommended to the city's Board of Elections and Ethics last year that school board elections also be held at the same time as those of council members.

Watson's report follows a similar recommendation by a task force composed of members of the council, who concluded last year that the city was spending too much money to conduct too many elections, and that the frequency of balloting was causing apathy on the part of the electorate.

The District of Columbia lost 16 percent of its population over the last decade, but the final census figures will not be available until April 1. On July 3, candidates for the November school board election, in which four seats will be contested, begin circulating their petitions and collecting signatures to qualify for a spot on the ballot. Officials generally are agreed that new ward lines to reflect population changes cannot be drawn in time to meet the scheduled timetable.

Watson's recommendation is to extend for one year the terms of officials who are up for reelection in November, a move likely to stir controversy.

But the alternative apparently is to hold this year's election with current ward boundaries unchanged. This raises the possibility that a person elected to serve a certain ward for four years would no longer be a resident of that ward after redistricting.