Hearing Set on Planned

Water Rate Increases

Beginning in April, the average water bill for county residents would go up $4.80 a year under a rate increase proposal made by the Fairfax County Water Authority.

A public hearing on the proposed hikes will be held at 8 p.m. next Thursday at the authority's offices, 8570 Executive Park Ave., Fairfax.

The proposed increases include:

* Water usage (commodity), from $1.30 to $1.35 per 1,000 gallons.

* Peak use, from $2.55 to $2.60 per 1,000 gallons.

* Turn off/turn on charge, from $31 to $32.

Increases in charges for new connections are also proposed.

According to the authority, a typical customer uses 24,000 gallons of water a quarter. The increase in the water usage charge would be $1.20 a quarter, or $4.80 a year. Authority officials said that even with the increase, Fairfax's water usage charges are the lowest in the Washington area.

Public Feedback Sought

On Parkway Proposal

State transportation officials will hold a public meeting tonight at Westfields High School to get feedback on a plan to build a north-south parkway connecting the city of Manassas with Interstate 66 and the Dulles corridor.

The meeting is part of a second round of public discussions the Virginia Department of Transportation is conducting on the so-called tri-county parkway. The proposed project area extends from Route 234 (Sudley Road) in Prince William County through Fairfax County north to Braddock Road in Loudoun County.

Residents may stop by anytime between 5 and 8 p.m. A brief presentation is scheduled for 6 p.m. Westfields High is at 4700 Stonecroft Rd., Chantilly. (Snow date: Dec. 13).

For more information, go to www.virginiadot.org/projects/tcp.asp or call 866-874-5286.

Election Registration

Required by Tuesday

Tuesday is the deadline to register to vote in the Dec. 17 special election to fill the 40th District seat in the House of Delegates vacated by Del. James K. O'Brien Jr. (R). O'Brien was elected to the state Senate last month.

In-person absentee voting began Nov. 27 at the county board of elections office, Suite 323, 12000 Government Center Pkwy. Residents may cast absentee ballots between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. through Dec. 13, and between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Dec. 14. For more information, call 703-324-4735.

The deadline for applying for an absentee ballot by mail is next Thursday. To vote absentee by mail, fax an application to 703-324-2205 or mail an application to the General Registrar, 12000 Government Center Pkwy., Suite 323, Fairfax, Va. 22035-0081.

The candidates are Timothy D. Hugo (R), Centreville; Carol A. Hawn (D), Centreville; Mark A. Calhoun (I), Centreville; and Joseph P. Oddo (I), Fairfax.

Post Office Construction

Underway in Fairfax City

Work has started on the new Fairfax City post office. The 34,251-square-foot building will replace the post office off Chain Bridge Road that is being torn down as part of the city's downtown redevelopment plan.

The new building, at 10660 Page Ave., will serve 41,647 people with 16,589 deliveries, U.S. Postal Service officials said. It will cover 48 carrier routes and include a retail store and 1,825 post office boxes. There will be 47 customer parking spaces.

You'd Better Watch Out:

Santa Train Is Coming

The Virginia Railway Express will operate its annual Santa Train on Dec. 14 with 12 special excursion trains from Fredericksburg, Leeland Road and Woodbridge on the Fredericksburg line and Burke Centre and Manassas on the Manassas line.

Rides last about an hour and depart and return to the same station.

The stations will also be drop-off sites Dec. 14 for the Marine Corps Toys for Tots Campaign.

Tickets are on sale and cost $3 a person, with a limit of six tickets a person on the earlier trains. Proceeds benefit Operation Lifesaver, a program to reduce collisions, injuries and deaths at highway-rail crossings. For more information, call 703-684-1001 or visit www.vre.org/fun/santa.htm.

Cox Communications

Adds Two TV Channels

Cox Communications, the county's main cable TV provider, has added two channels, TV Asia and the Filipino Channel, to its digital program lineup.

TV Asia (digital channel 257) offers information and entertainment focusing on South Asian-American affairs. The channel airs programming in Hindi, English, Gujarati and other languages 24 hours a day.

The Filipino channel (digital channel 259) is the only full-time Filipino language station in the United States. It offers viewers entertainment and informational programs.

-- Compiled by Diane Mattingly

and Stephen C. Fehr

Rendering shows the post office being built in Fairfax City. It is expected to serve 41,647 people.