The Greene County Commission held a public meeting Monday at the historic courthouse to discuss their annual budget and requested changes from the various departments under their financial purview.
One of the biggest areas of change is coming from the pretrial services department, who has been impacted by changes in the Missouri court system related to bail. The department has said the officers assigned to them have reached their saturation point because of the increased caseload. They are requesting the commission alter the budget to add another officer to their department that will allow them to effectively manage the increased number of cases under their purview.
The cost of an additional officer would be approximately $51,000 a year.
The department is also asking for an increase for their fund earmarked for ankle monitors. The current budget allotment is $75,000, but the department says projections based on the increased number of cases will put the total closer to $125,000 by the end of the year.
The county’s Information Technology department has also made a request to the commissioners to hire a new Cybersecurity Network Engineer with an estimated salary of just under $77,000.
The IT department’s request to the commissioners noted that Greene County’s computer systems have been under near-constant attack from hackers over the last year.
“These kinds of attacks could cause significant financial issues to the County if someone were to get into our systems,” Commissioner Harold Bengsch said. He referenced ransomware attacks on communities like Riviera Beach, Florida, who paid hackers $600,000 as a ransom to get their city’s data released from encryption.
The attack on Riviera Beach brought to a halt the city’s computer system, including their 911 system, and resulted in the city needing to spend an emergency $1 million to get their system back online and protected from further attacks.
The commissioners took no action at the meeting, as the intent of the meeting was informational, but they could address changes to the budget in future commission briefings.