City resumes online payments for property taxes, speeding and parking tickets

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Photo by Christopher Sessums, via Flickr

Nearly two months out from a ransomware attack that crippled municipal networks, the city has restored the ability to pay property taxes, moving violations and parking tickets online, Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young’s office announced this morning.

Yep, there’s no shirking that red light camera ticket anymore.

The city said it will not tack on any late fees for parking tickets issued during May, June and July. But those fees will resume on Aug. 1.

“A small amount of customers may have paid erroneous late fees,” the release said. “We are currently setting up an online process for customers to request a refund if they have paid undue late fees.”

While business has mostly returned to normal since the May attack that locked city workers out of their emails and computers, there are still some systems that remain online as the IT department continues to make repairs and upgrades–most notably, the ability to pay water bills online.

Young’s deputy chief of staff of operations, Sheryl Goldstein, said last week city officials were still working to develop a timeline for some financial functions, including water billing.

“They have to identify the impacted applications, they have to restore the data, they have to test and make sure that applications that speak to each other have the code that’s written properly to actually interact in the way that they’re supposed to before bringing them back online,” she said. “That’s gonna take time.”

A similar attack in Atlanta last year took six months to fix, she noted.

Also last week, the Board of Estimates approved $10 million in emergency funds to pay for all the repairs and software upgrades. The hackers who unleashed the ransomware demanded the city pay 13 bitcoins–or roughly $148,000 based on current exchange rates–to get all its data back, but officials refused, and instead contracted with IT firms to restore and update local networks.

In an announcement of the restored online payments for property taxes and tickets, City Councilman Eric Costello (11th District) estimated restoring water bill payments online would take another month.

No late fees are being assessed for water bills, he said.

Brandon Weigel

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