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Sept. 27, 1999 Carroll County says it will be Y2K ready – Boris Hartl, Carroll County Times

Sept. 27, 1999 Carroll County says it will be Y2K ready – Boris Hartl, Carroll County Times

First published Monday, September 27, 1999

Carroll says it will be Y2K-ready

Contingency plans protect Maryland jurisdictions from lawsuits

By BORIS HARTL Times Staff Writer

Officials from Carroll County's eight municipalities and the county government said they don't expect the Year 2000 bug to be a problem, provided local power companies can supply them with electricity on Jan. 1, 2000.

Baltimore Gas and Electric says not to worry. Robert Cornelius, BGE's Year 2000 program manager, said the company has been Y2K-compliant since June 30. A spokesman for Allegheny Power, which supplies power to the western half of Carroll County, said his company is immune to the so-called ``millennium bug.''

Carroll's eight incorporated areas - Hampstead, Manchester, Mount Airy, New Windsor, Sykesville, Taneytown, Union Bridge, and Westminster - have either adopted Y2K-compliance plans or are close to doing so.

The county commissioners approved a county government year 2000 compliance plan Wednesday.

``We're in good shape,'' said Union Bridge Mayor Perry L. Jones Jr. ``We’re not as large as the other municipalities so there wasn't as much work to do.''

The General Assembly passed a law last year that protects local governments, under certain circumstances, from lawsuits and liability for damages arising from year 2000 problems, as long as those municipalities adopt a Y2K-compliance plan by Oct. 1. The plan must outline what those municipalities have done to identify and remedy potential Year 2000 computer problems.

Mount Airy Mayor Gerald R. Johnson estimates that by the end of the year, the town will have spent about $10,000 on Year 2000 preparations. The money was partially spent buying new computers, software, and some backup power generators for the sewer systems.

The Union Bridge Town Council could adopt its Y2K-compliance plan at its Monday night meeting, Jones said. The town has upgraded its computer systems and has installed backup generators for its water and sewer systems.

The New Windsor Town Council passed its Y2K-compliance Plan Sept. 1. The Manchester Town Council adopted its Y2K-compliance Plan at its Sept. 14 meeting. The town is in the middle of installing generators at two well sites.

As part of the town's emergency preparedness plan, Sykesville officials have created a Y2K contingency task force. The will purchase a police generator for the police department.

Sykesville's Town Council is scheduled to review its Y2K contingency plan at its next meeting, which is set for 7 p.m. today.

Taneytown received a $10,000 grant from the state to help the city upgrade its accounting and computer software and make it Y2K-compliant. That was taken care of a month ago, said City Manager Chip Boyles.

City officials are in the process of buying a generator to run a couple of different water wells should the electricity go out Jan. 1, Boyles said.

Generators are also on stand-by at the sewer treatment plant, he said.

Extra policemen and utility workers will be on hand New Year's Eve in the case the power does go out or other problems arise, he said.

Boyles said that if for some reason they do lose power, water and sewer services will still be provided.

But, Boyles said, he's confident Taneytown's electricity source, Allegheny Power, is Y2K-compliant and won't have any problems.

Hampstead officials could not be reached for this report.

The Westminster City Council could approve its Y2K plan at its meeting tonight. Copies of the plan are available at City Hall, located at the 1800 block of Emerald Hill Lane.

Allen Staggers, an Allegheny Power spokesman, said the power company will staff extra employees to handle complaints and questions during the holiday season. BGE will do the same.

``We don't anticipate any Y2K problems; we are more concerned about the typical outages during the day,'' Staggers said. ``Anyone at anytime could be out of power. We'll make the extra effort and respond to all the typical outages. We don't want people to [mistakenly] think it's Y2K when it's not. That's our biggest fear.''

Staff Writer Stacey Ward contributed to this report.

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