Alexandria City Council removes ransomware attack from meeting agenda

Alexandria City Council Chambers
Alexandria City Council Chambers(KALB)
Published: Jul. 12, 2022 at 3:27 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 12, 2022 at 5:30 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - During the Tuesday, July 12 Alexandria City Council meeting, the council will be addressing a variety of topics during the committee meetings, including the use of the second installment of ARPA funds and the pay study results for all city employees.

The council had asked to also hear an update from Mayor Jeff Hall regarding the current state of the city’s networks following the ransomware attack last month. City officials have denied any information being stolen from that attack. However, at the council meeting, the subject was ultimately removed from the agenda. This came after City Attorney Shane Williams sent the council a letter simply saying “the matter is currently being investigated by state and local law enforcement” and then advised the agenda item to be removed.

The breach halted the utility billing process that was already behind due to the meter reader shortage. As a result, utility bills were not sent out in June, so the utility department has planned to send out two bills this month that will be estimated until the situation is resolved. The administration said the first round of bills started going out on July 1, but that the majority of them would be sent by July 8. However, KALB has received messages from many Alexandria residents saying they have yet to receive their first utility bill for this month. We set up a poll on our website where you can tell us if you have received your utility bill. To vote on the poll, click here.

The council is set to hear a report on the employee pay study results and when a pay increase could be implemented. On April 19, the council approved a 10% pay increase for all full-time city employees which was 2% higher than what Mayor Hall originally proposed in the budget.

The city council approved the pay increase while a pay study was being conducted for all city employees. Council members said back in April that once the results come in, they could be able to raise the pay increases, even more, to make it more competitive with surrounding areas.

The council will also be hearing a proposal for the use of the second installment of funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. The city has received $5.4 million in the second installment and over $10 million in total.

Back in April, during a budget meeting, Council President Catherine Davidson asked the council and administration to consider using the second installment of the funds to improve public safety, including providing better equipment for the Alexandria Police Department. She said she wants to use the money specifically on new police units, body cameras and tasers for officers.

The committee meetings are scheduled to start at 4 p.m. while the full council meeting will begin at approximately 5 p.m.

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