Public Hearing on Budget

The Alexandria City Council will hold a public hearing Oct. 15 on the upcoming fiscal 2007 operating budget and Capital Improvement Program. The discussion will be part of the regularly scheduled Saturday public hearing, which begins at 9:30 a.m. in the Council Chamber, second floor, City Hall, 301 King St.

The council will receive public input before the preparation of the fiscal 2007 budget, which will be proposed by the city manager in February. Another public hearing, on the proposed budget, will be held in late March.

Any resident wishing to speak should complete a speaker's form before or at the hearing. Forms are available in the city clerk's office, room 2300, City Hall. Speaking requests can also be made directly to the city clerk by e-mail at jackie.henderson@alexandriava.gov or by phone at 703-838-4500. Residents who have disabilities and require assistance or those needing special arrangements such as translation services or language interpreters may call the city clerk at 703-838-4500 (TTY/TDD 703-838-5056). A 48-hour notice is needed for special accommodations.

Rabies Precautions

Health officials have confirmed that a raccoon tested positive for rabies after it bit a dog in the 1800 block of S. George Mason Drive in South Arlington. The dog's owner reported the incident, and the pet's rabies vaccination was up to date.

Health officials urge residents to stay away from wild animals and to contact the Animal Welfare League of Arlington (AWLA) if they notice any animal behaving aggressively, appearing to be ill or being unusually friendly. If you are bitten by an animal, wash the wound immediately with soap and water and seek medical care.

The Arlington County Public Health Division advises taking the following steps to protect people and pets from rabies exposure:

* Vaccinate dogs, cats and ferrets.

* Do not touch or feed wild animals, stray dogs and cats, or bats.

* Eliminate outdoor food sources around the home and feed pets indoors.

* Securely seal garbage containers with lids.

* Keep pets confined to your property.

If your pet has been in contact with an animal that might be rabid, contact AWLA at 703-931-9241, Ext. 200. State law requires all dogs and cats over the age of four months to be vaccinated against rabies. For more information on rabies, contact AWLA or visit the Virginia Department of Health's Web site at www.vdh.state.va.us/epi/rabies.htm or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Web site at www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/rabies/default.htm.

Walking in Arlington

Earlier this year, Arlington was named the nation's No. 1 Walking City by the American Podiatric Medical Association. On Saturday, three of Arlington's communities will host neighborhood walks.

Walking enthusiasts, including Arlington County Board Chairman Jay Fisette, will guide each walk. The routes range in length from 1.5 miles to 2 miles, and each walk will last about one hour. Start times are staggered so that walkers can participate in one, two or all three.

There is no charge to participate and no registration is required. Five pedometers will be given away at the end of each walk. Route maps will be provided, and there will be souvenirs for all participants.

The walks will go on, rain or shine, barring serious storm warnings or other hazardous conditions.

* 11 a.m. -- Donaldson Run Walkabout, leaving from Taylor Elementary School, 2600 N. Stuart St.; on-site parking available. Highlights include Taylor Elementary School, heated and cooled with geothermal energy; Donaldson Run, home to Arlington's first large-scale natural stream restoration project; and Beechwood Circle, where homes from the 1930s are nestled among towering beeches.

* 1 p.m. -- Ashton Heights Walkabout, leaving from the Arlington Arts Center, 3550 Wilson Blvd.; limited parking available at the arts center; easily accessible from the Virginia Square Metro station. Jay Fisette will lead this walk. Highlights include the renovated Arlington Arts Center, the historic Woman's Club of Ashton Heights, Arlington Preservation Award-winning Four Square house, and Fisette's home.

* 3 p.m. -- Fairlington-Shirlington Walkabout, beginning at the Village at Shirlington. Ample on-site parking is available. Highlights include the tree-lined streets of the historic Fairlington condominium communities and Four Mile Run, home to an annual trout fishing event. The walk ends with a reception at the Village at Shirlington. Refreshments by Luna Grill and Diner and Best Buns.

For more information, visit www.walkarlington.com/go/nhoodwalkabouts05.html.

Property Taxes Due

Personal property taxes for Alexandria and Arlington residents are due Wednesday. Personal property bills and windshield decals have been mailed to city and county residents. Residents are urged to pay taxes by mail or online to avoid waiting in line.

For Alexandria taxes:

* Pay by mail by sending to Treasurer's Office, Department of Finance, Department 710, Alexandria, VA 22334-0710.

* Pay by eCheck online at alexandriava.gov to have the payment electronically deducted from a checking or savings account. No fee.

* Pay by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover) 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by calling 800-272-9829, or online at alexandriava.gov. A convenience fee will be charged by Official Payments Corp. The city's jurisdiction code is 1007.

* Pay in person at any SunTrust Bank branch in the city. SunTrust will accept payment of the total amount printed on the tax bill until 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Or, pay in person from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, at the Treasury Division, City Hall, 301 King St., Room 1510.

* Drop off payment at a drop box on the Royal Street side of City Hall. Available 24 hours a day.

For Arlington taxes:

* Pay at a kiosk at any of 16 participating 7-Eleven stores in Arlington. Vcom financial services kiosks are available 24 hours a day.

* Pay online at https://payment.arlingtonva.us/epayment/welcome.asp.

* Pay by phone by dialing 888-2PAY-TAX (888-272-9829) any time, seven days a week, using a credit card. A 2.5 percent convenience fee or a minimum of $1 will be imposed by the service provider for credit card payments. The county's jurisdiction code is 1000.

* Pay by mail by sending to Arlington County Treasurer's Office, 2100 Clarendon Blvd., Suite 201, Arlington, VA 22201. Make checks and money orders payable to Arlington County Treasurer.

* Pay in person at more than 40 Global Express Financial Services locations throughout Northern Virginia.

Or, pay in person from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, at the Treasurer's Office, 2100 Clarendon Blvd., Suite 215. Payment may be made by check, money order, cash, debit card (ATM) or Discover Card. A fee is added to all Discover card payments to cover processing costs.

* Drop off payment at the 24-hour Treasurer's Office drop box in the 2300 block of Clarendon Boulevard near the corner of North Adams Street.