NLC says cities are ready for Y2K
With the Y2K deadline fast approaching, the nation’s cities have said they are ready for the new millennium. According to a 400-city survey for the National League of Cities, Washington, D.C., 92 percent of respondents say that 100 percent of their cities’ critical systems will be compliant by the end of the year.
Public safety, water and wastewater systems, utility service, finances and tax records are the top priorities for compliance. Other areas mentioned by respondents include general government administration, roads and traffic management, and telecommunications.
Two-thirds of the respondents have prepared a Y2K contingency plan. Of the cities without a contingency plan, 48 percent plan to develop one; 55 percent of those expect the plan to be completed this month.
To complete compliance tasks, cities have partnered with other local governments, utility companies and local businesses. Seventy-three percent of the respondents are working with public and private utilities; 59 percent are collaborating with other municipal governments; 52 percent partnered with private-sector groups; and 51 percent are working with county governments.
The cost of Y2K compliance is proportional to the size of the city. Seventy-five percent of large cities (population more than 150,000) said compliance efforts cost more than $1 million. Eighty-five percent of cities with populations between 10,000 and 49,999 estimated compliance costs at $500,000 or less, while small cities (less than 10,000 population) estimated costs of about $250,000.
Most cities notified the public about potential Y2K problems and the status of compliance work. Sixty-three percent of respondents used local newspapers to inform residents; 59 percent designated city staff to answer questions from residents; 47 percent held public forums; and 43 percent used the city web site. Some respondents also published guidebooks, distributed and mailed materials and placed local television and radio ads.
The survey was conducted by National Research, Washington, D.C., via telephone for NLC. Responding cities represented 49 states and the District of Columbia. The group included 81 cities with populations higher than 150,000; 90 cities with populations between 50,000 and 150,000; 112 cities with populations between 10,000 and 50,000; and 120 communities with fewer than 10,000 residents.