Town leaders from Round Hill and Purcellville are planning to apply for a grant they believe will help them get technical assistance when they apply for state funds next spring.

The grant, which they say would permit them to hire expert assistance to help prepare future funding request applications, would come from the Northern Virginia Planning District Commission office (NVPDC).

Round Hill, Purcellville and six other Northern Virginia towns applied for Community Development Block Grants last year for water and housing projects, but all eight proposals were denied by the state agency disbursing the federal funds. That record has plainly disturbed NVPDC.

"If you take a look at the map and see where the funds went, it is tilted to the southwest," said Round Hill Mayor Jeffrey Wolford. "There was a definite need here in Round Hill, and we think with some help we can do better this year."

Wolford said leaders from other small towns denied grants last year could possibly join Round Hill in its request for technical assistance.

Because both Round Hill and Purcellville are under mandate from the state health department to upgrade their water systems, they have been looking to the community development grants as a way of getting funds for the expensive projects.

Round Hill officials estimated it would cost $500,000 to replace in-town water lines and applied for $470,000 to finance the project, which Wolford said would go a long way toward eliminating cloudy water. Purcellville applied for $450,000 for a similar reconstruction project.

Wolford said that, with some expert advice, Round Hill might decide to apply for something slightly different this year, perhaps scaling down last year's proposal or even applying for a joint water-improvement project with Purcellville. The applications are due to be filed this spring and decisions will be announced next fall.