Y2K concerns city of SLT
Perhaps alien objects will hurtle from the heavens, the sun stop shining and every telephone, computer and kitchen light simultaneously malfunction.
Or maybe everything will remain exactly the same and all the fear, trepidation and anticipation will be for naught.
But the city of South Lake Tahoe is taking no chances. The plan is to stockpile like mad and enter the next millennium armed to the teeth with contingency plans.
“I’m not a doomsday type of person, but I think there will definitely be problems,” said Dean Hart, information systems manager for the city. “But people are resilient and resourceful, and will find a way to handle the issues that come up.”
In a report to the South Lake Tahoe City Council, Sue Schlerf, assistant city manager, said that Y2K preparation among city organizations has included completing full inventories, ongoing discussions with manufacturers, suppliers and financial institutions, the creation of compliance and contingency plans, as well as full systems testing. All city electrical generators are kept topped-off at all times in case of a break in electrical service, and existing emergency generators can provide eight to 16 hours of electrical power without refueling. Schlerf also mentioned that if the generators are refueled from the city’s underground tanks, the ability to provide electrical power would be unlimited.
But for some, that is not enough. Mayor Pro Tem, Tom Davis believes citizens need more information and clarification about what will happen with such crucial services as police, fire, hospital, fuel, snow removal and more.
“The questions I’m getting from citizens are, will these services still work and what are we doing to prepare ourselves,” Davis said. “I would like to see us do a series of information pieces on TCI which would answer all those questions.”
A large part of the city’s preparedness would involve replacing the central processing unit, the 19-year-old HP-3000, which contains in its severely outdated memory every last bit of city information from accounts receivable to business license and transient tax records.
“Time is of the essence here because even if we get new software right now, we will still have to work very hard to eliminate glitches in time for the year 2000,” Hart said.
Hart noted that the city’s original recommendation was to bring the old programs up to Y2K compliancy levels, but rather than carry on with obsolete and outdated programs, Hart’s department is now recommending that the city purchase new software altogether. The City Council will consider the issue April 13, and pending its approval, the new systems might be installed as early as June 1, or as late at Jan. 1, 2000. The prospect of such a major overhaul leaves some council members seriously concerned.
“We’re taking a really big bite. We’re talking about replacing our central processing unit – that’s big, that’s huge,” said Councilwoman Brooke Laine. “I wish not to throw a wrench into the system but are we really ready for this. If this is up and running by June 1, is six months really enough time to work out all the bugs?”
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Update 9:15 a.m. — Power has been restored to about 3,700 customers, according to the Liberty Utilities outage map.