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City departments almost finished with Y2K tests

May 18, 1999|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

Hagerstown city departments are almost done testing equipment and computer software that could be affected by the year 2000 computer glitch, and so far no problems have arisen, City Light Department Manager Terry Weaver said Tuesday.

Weaver is chairman of the city's Y2K Oversight Committee, which is in charge of overseeing preparations for the year 2000, and developing an emergency contingency plan in case problems arise come Jan. 1.

The year 2000 computer glitch, known as Y2K, stems from the widely used computer memory-saving practice of abbreviating dates to two digits in the early days of programming. Many experts fear computers will crash on Jan. 1, 2000, because the computers may interpret the 00 as 1900.

So far, the City of Hagerstown has spent about $1.5 million on equipment and software upgrades to ready the city for the year 2000. That included about $1 million for a new communications system and records software for the police department, City Finance Director Al Martin said.

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On Tuesday, Weaver told the mayor and council that city departments have reviewed 90 percent of the equipment and software that might be affected by the Y2K, and no problems have been detected.

Weaver said the goal is to have all relevant testing completed by June 30.

He said more than 650 companies that do business with the city have been contacted to see if they may have Y2K problems that could affect the city.

So far, about 290 companies have responded that they are or soon will be ready for the year 2000, Weaver said.

That includes Allegheny Power, which provides electricity for the city, he said.

Should the worst happen and the city lose electricity, an inventory of all the city's generators is being taken and plans are being made for where those generators should go, Weaver said.

Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said that even without the year 2000 looming, it is a good idea for the city to develop such an emergency plan.

Hagerstown's efforts to prepare for the year 2000 are also being reported on the city's Internet site at www.hagerstownmd.org, Weaver said.

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