MOST district board members believe eight months will be sufficient for incumbents to campaign for re-election in September next year. But they agree newcomers will be at a disadvantage if the new arrangements are not announced at least a year before the election. The number of seats up for grabs next year hinges on whether the controversial electoral bill - which seeks to scrap the district board appointment system - can be passed. The decision will also affect how the constituency boundaries are to be drawn. The Government has yet to decide when to put the bill to the Legislative Council. Although the United Democrats have stressed the bill should be enacted before the legislative year ends in July to allow sufficient time for candidates to prepare for the district board polls, some legislators believe it can be enacted as late as the endof this year. Sha Tin District Board elected member Mr Tony Kan Chung-nin said seven to eight months would be enough for members, appointed or elected, to prepare for the elections. Mr Kan, who is also a member of the Liberal Party's preparatory committee, said there was a case in the 1991 elections where a candidate won a seat in a district in which he had lived for only six months. This proved that it did not take a long time for candidates to prepare for the polls, he said. Kowloon City District Board appointed member Mr Lai Shu-wing, who has yet to make up his mind whether to stand for election, said he had been working in his district for 18 years and he was confident he would win no matter how the boundary was drawn. He believed a minimum of six months was needed for candidates to prepare. Mongkok District Board chairman Mr Chow Chun-fai said incumbent members only needed two or three months to prepare for elections because they had already been serving the community for quite some time. But Mr Chow, an elected member, said at least a year was needed for newcomers or they would be at a disadvantage. Appointed member of the Sha Tin District Board Mr Wong Luen-kin warned a delay would have an adverse effect on first-time candidates, making it difficult for them to start their preparatory work. ''We have established a certain level of influence in our constituency and I believe everything can be run quite smoothly,'' he said. ''This will not be the case for new candidates - it takes a little bit of time to build up their network.'' Another appointed member, the Reverend James Leung Kwok-tung, said incumbents had 31/2 years to prepare for their re-election and therefore it did not matter when the technical arrangements were worked out. But he believed the boundaries had to be drawn at least a year ago so candidates could decide where to run. Kwai Tsing District Board appointed member Mr Peter Cheung Yiu-tak, who is considering whether he will run for the polls next year, felt electoral arrangements should be ready for implementation by June. ''From July this year to next September there will only be 15 months left for us to prepare for the election,'' he said. ''Any date later than July will not give us enough time.''