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The City of Taylor Mill was hit by computer hackers who demanded ransom of $10,000.
City Administrator Jill Bailey made the announcement at Wednesday’s city commission meeting, saying that a virus had been discovered in the city’s computer system. Staff members were unable to access files last week when the virus shut down the computers. That’s when a ransom note arrived, asking for ten grand in order to release the files.
The city did not pay the ransom and now the Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into it, and the city’s computer specialist has stripped all the computers and used a back-up system. Mayor Dan Bell said that city officials were told of a similar incident at a small hospital in Ohio – but the hackers asked for $150,000 to release the files.
On Thursday, the city released a statement that indicated all but one week’s worth of files had been recovered.
In other news, the city commission opted to maintain the tax rates from the previous fiscal year, $4.39 per $1000 of assessed value for real property, and $7.50 per $1000 of assessed value for personal property. This allows the city to bring in $1.8 million in real tax and $285,000 in personal tax for the new fiscal year that started in July. Commissioner Ed Kuehne suggested having a special meeting as soon as possible in order to pass the second reading of the ordinance so the city can send out tax bills.
The city honored State Rep. Tom Kerr, the 64th district Republican, for his 32 years of service. A proclamation was read, and Kerr was presented with a plaque while his wife Janice looked on. He then gave a speech, joking that since he wasn’t running for office he felt a little like Donald Trump, “unshackled”, a reference to the Republican presidential candidate’s recent tweets about being freed from support from other high profile Republicans.
Kerr, whose seat is being sought by Republican Kim Moser and Democrat Lucas Deaton in the November election, expressed his gratitude to the city and said in all the years, he never lost his sense of awe.
Business owner Gary Holland spoke to the commission, saying that he was moving the Holland Group’s headquarters from Florence to the third floor of his building in Taylor Mill, the new structure on Taylor Mill Road, which will bring 15 more employees to town. Holland said an accounting firm is also moving in shortly, with four employees. He credited Mayor Bell with pushing him to do his best work in creating his building and filling it with businesses that the city wanted and needed. He said all of the businesses are doing very well, which is why he made the decision to relocate his headquarters.
“This is going to be a good thing,” Holland said with emotion, remembering the beginning of his project and how it came into being. “I’m 45 and I am not done yet. I am very proud of it.”
Jimmie Poynter, who retired from the Bellevue Police Department, was introduced as the new school resource officer for Scott High School and Woodland Middle School. Poynter is happy with his position, saying it is almost like not having a job. Mayor Bell said he hoped it stayed that way.
A resident of Sunny Acres, Maureen Maxfield, asked about when there would be a traffic light at the intersection of Honey Drive and Pride Parkway, and city engineer Mark Brueggemann said there should be a permit by next week, and then the project would go out for bid, and could be installed by March or April. Maxfield replied that one of her neighbors said that they had talked to a representative from the state who said there could be a standard traffic light installed very soon, and she complained that Taylor Mill’s desire for a decorative light to match the others was holding up the project. Bailey said she would call the state and look into possibly getting a temporary light right away, if possible.
Kevin Novesl, owner of the Knuk N Futz restaurant, said they were hosting a meet the candidates night on Monday, October 17 at 7 p.m., and would like people to come. So far all three of the challenging candidates have confirmed, but he hopes to have the incumbents also.
Scott Smith, who lives on Maple Ridge, came to complain about cement trucks and heavy machinery coming down his street, which he says are tearing up the road and causing large pieces of cement to break loose on his street, damaging the bottom of his car. He was told that the trucks have to get there, and the only other way was up another street, which was ten years newer. Police Chief Steve Knauf said he would once again tell the trucks to go on the other street, or they would be fined.
Sarah Frietch asked the commission if there were any rules about where she could put her election signs. She wondered if the signs could be put in the public right-of-way. Bailey said there were rules, but during election season, she instructed her staff not to touch the signs unless they were obstructing vision, such as at the corner of Wolf Road. The state, however, will take down the signs if they are in the right-of-way.
Commissioner Debby Kreimborg confirmed that the city would host Halloween hours on the Monday, October 31 from 6 to 8 p.m.