Because of an editing error, a Metro story in Thursday's editions incorrectly quoted Alexandria Republican Party Chairwoman Jane Ring. She said that although a special council election would be costly in the short term, it would be less expensive for Alexandria taxpayers in the long run.

Margaret B. Inman announced yesterday that her resignation from the Alexandria City Council will take effect Tuesday, forcing a special election within two months. The move, according to Republicans, strengthens their chances of retaining her seat.

In a separate announcement, Republican Lou Cook, chairman of the Alexandria School Board, said she will seek Inman's seat.

Under Virginia law, Circuit Court Chief Judge Donald H. Kent must set the election between 40 and 60 days from when he receives official notification of the vacancy.

Democrats -- who have lost all three special elections held since 1968 -- had hoped Inman would delay her resignation so the council election would coincide with the Nov. 4 general election. The council is split with four Democrats and three Republicans.

The special election will cost about $20,000, according to election board officials.

"It might be cheaper in the short run to have the council election Nov. 4 ," said Jane Ring, chairwoman of the Alexandria Republican Party. "But in the long run it would be more expensive for the Republicans to have a 5-to-2 split on council."

John D. Williams III, president of the Alexandria Taxpayers Alliance who ran for mayor as an independent last year, is the only other announced candidate.

Inman, who was married two weeks ago and plans to move to South Carolina, said she quit now so the council would be short during the relatively quiet summer.