BENTLEYVILLE –– Residents may have come across a message stating hackers were trying to steal their information when accessing the Bentleyville website during the week of Dec. 30 and into last week.

Officials said, however, that the message was most likely due to the crash of the village’s server and not actual hackers.

The server has since been fixed and the website is running fine for the time being, said Ken Kvacek, chairman of the Streets and Safety Committee. He said the server, which connects the village’s digital operations, appears to be between seven and nine years old and in need of a replacement.

He noted that a municipal server needs to be given frequent updates, which this one had not received. Replacing the server, he added, could cost up to $7,000.

Mr. Kvacek said the village did not lose any information as a result of the crash because the village fiscal officer, Nickol Sell, has a separate laptop for syncing the village’s finances with the state auditor that essentially acted as a backup for the data.

Councilwoman Kathleen Hale suggested the village consider hiring or contracting someone for regular maintenance of the village’s digital and technology operations to avoid running into another crash upon replacing the server.

Mr. Kvacek said that police Officer Jim Perkins is “fluid” in the day-to-day operations of the village’s software and handles most of the needed computer updates, but he agreed that it would be worth looking into the potential addition of a line item to the village budget for information and technology services.

In other news, the streets and safety committee will work to create a five-year equipment replacement plan.

Mr. Kvacek said the replacement plan is mostly intended to get the village into routine practices for vehicles, but it would also include categories such as village hall maintenance, grounds keeping and parks.

Currently, the village will work on identifying all current equipment and gather information such as age and condition, quantity, useful life prediction, possible replacement cost and other notes.

Officer Perkins also suggested the village consider the PMI Evidence software for barcoding evidence and other smaller pieces of equipment.

He said the software costs $2,450 upfront and has yearly support fees for updates and repairs.

The software, he explained, could include information in the barcodes on items on age, how soon the items would need to be replaced or in cases of evidence, whether a court hearing would be approaching in which the items would be needed.

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