Vienna next month will hold a public hearing on a proposed $3 million bond issue to help solve the town's water problems and finance improvements to roads and an antiquated police communications system.

The bond issue, the first proposed by the town since a $2.5 million bond issue in 1977, would add a new $500,000 water tank to supplement three existing tanks, rebuild streets and drainage ditches, buy a $75,000 television monitor to help find extensive leaks in the town's sewer system, and include $250,000 to fix the leaks.

Streams and rain water infiltrate the sewer system, adding an extra $125,000 a year to residents' sewer bills, Town Manager Brackenridge Bentley said. The town and, in turn, residents are charged by the gallon for sewage treated at the District's Blue Plains and Accotink treatment plants.

Also included in the proposed three-year bond construction program are $95,000 for a new police radio communications system, $53,000 for a state-approved traffic light at Maple Avenue and Branch Road and almost two dozen other maintenance projects.

The bond issue, to be discussed at the Feb. 28 council meeting and voted on March 7, has been under consideration for two years but was postponed because of high interest rates, Bentley said.

This winter, bond interest rates, which usually run about half the prime rate, Bentley said, have been about 9 percent. Last year, they ranged as high as 11 and 12 percent.

Bentley predicted the town may be able to pay off the new bonds without raising taxes by immediately reinvesting the bond money and spending it only as needed.

"We can't promise anything, but we hope we can pull this off without raising people's taxes," he said. The town is almost debt-free, "although under state law we could carry more than $80 million" in bonded indebtedness.