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City ready for 2000

July 16, 1997

By DON AINES

Staff Writer

Governments and businesses are scrambling to get their computer systems ready to face the next century, but Hagerstown's should be ready to meet the 2000 compliance dilemma.

Many computers have a two-digit "date field" for storing the year. When 2000 hits, many computers apparently will think time has reverted to 1900.

"We shouldn't be in a crisis, but we do have some work to do," said Director of Finance Alfred Martin.

Hagerstown's mainframe system is an HP 3000, which handles many of the city's major bookkeeping and information chores, such as financial management, payroll, personnel, police information and more. Martin told the council Tuesday night that the system can be changed to recognize the change of centuries.

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The police and financial management software are two of the most important that will have to be updated.

"Both those software programs have some age on them," Martin remarked.

He added, however, that there is a plan to fix the software that is budgeted.

For the rest of the city's 158 personal computers, Martin said about half will have to be replaced. Most of those are older models that are scheduled to be replaced before the end of the century, anyway.

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