Occoquan is seeking an emergency allocation from Prince William County or the state to beef up its $54,000 annual budget, which was cut after the 1980 Census showed an 83 percent population drop.

Federal revenue-sharing and law enforcement funds were slashed when the census found only 240 residents in 1980 compared with 1,609 in 1978. Although the town appealed the census, the grant for its two-man police force fell from $13,000 to $2,000 and $5,500 in revenue-sharing funds was eliminated.

Some county officials have indicated the town may be able to get some emergency funds, but how much is unknown.

Meanwhile, council members also are considering buying Rockledge, the historic 18th-century mansion gutted by a January 1980 fire. A private bidder has reportedly offered $175,000 for the Mill Street property, which features a building designed by John Buckland, architect of Gunston Hall, the Fairfax County home of George Mason.

Town Clerk Joan Jennings said several Occoquan and Manassas residents want the town to buy the building, which was built in 1758 and restored in the mid-1970s at a cost of $250,000.

Jennings said eight persons willing to donate $25,000 each have approached town officials with a plan to outbid the current offer.

"But everything is so iffy," she conceded. "I'm sure we could get 180 people to donate $1,000 a piece to help the town buy the building." The county also has offered $40,000 to repair the roof, she added.

The town has a Nov. 9 deadline to bid on the property, which has been tied up in bankruptcy proceedings since the fire, she said.