East Cocalico computer breach investigation continues

By on May 25, 2018

East Cocalico Police Chief, Darrick Keppley, told supervisors at their May 17 meeting that the Lancaster County Crime Unit is assisting the township with investigating the hacking which occurred in mid-May on tax collector, Joan B. Fischer’s computer which she uses for tax collection.

Reached by phone, Fischer said she uses Trend Micro Virus Protection. She said from what she knows, this situation isn’t a virus but a sophisticated hacker. Keppley reported that hacking sites from a remote computer have been traced to the Ukraine.

Fischer has been a tax collector in the township for 34 years and enjoys an excellent reputation. She uses her personal laptop while working at the municipal building, where she has space dedicated to her tax collection duties.

“I keep no addresses or social security numbers on the computer. They’re in hard copy and locked up,” Fischer said.

Township manager Scott Russell said “Our fire walls held up.” The township’s information was not affected and remains secure.

Keppley reported the investigation is on-going, and no further information is available. The police department letter released last week reminded citizens that they could place a fraud alert on their personal information.

In other business, design finalization for two new, improved signs to direct people coming from route 272 or Hill Road to the police department continues. Following comments from supervisors and the audience, it was agreed that a revised design will be presented for approval at supervisor’s June 7 meeting.

Zoning Officer Tony Luongo had a busy April with 40 building/zoning permit applications. False alarms for April were on the high side with 10.

Luongo also reported discussions with several businesses yielded positive feedback regarding convening a meeting of business owners. One purpose would be to tap their ideas on how the township could support current businesses and ways to attract other businesses. This meeting would be a conduit for communication between businesses, and businesses and the township.

No date or time for this meeting is set. The goal is to schedule it before the end of August at a central location. The time and agenda of it and any future meetings would be driven by the business owners.

Action items included supervisors authorizing installation of signs on South Reamstown Road. Signs will say “26,000 lbs. gross vehicle registered weight” and will replace the “No Truck” signs currently in place. This action is needed to align with regulations on contiguous roads and in anticipation of detours which will be necessary due to road work.

Supervisors approved participating in the Cocalico School District’s bulk price fuel share program. Cocalico School District must update their current fuel island. The district purchases fuel in bulk for the entire school year. By purchasing an even larger quantity to include municipal participation, lower prices can be obtained for everyone. Denver Borough will also participate.

Roadmaster Chris Flory showed supervisors samples of the new, road crew uniforms. “The khaki cargo pants are great. We never seem to have enough pockets for what we must carry. The yellow shirts are easily visible and should help keep our workers safe,” said Flory.

Flory was congratulated for his leadership in the township being awarded a $32,446.26 grant from Lancaster County Conservation District. The money will assist road widening on Indiantown and Buzzard Roads.

Extensive discussion on topics including strategic budget forecasting, video-taping meetings (done currently for uploading to YouTube only), local tax relief plans/procedures (Cocalico School District is interested in joining any future discussions), and four items related to township beautification pushed the meeting length to nearly three hours.

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