The days are numbered for some employees in Brooks County, all as a result of a serious budget crisis that the county has been facing in recent days.
The County Commissioners Court there has made some massive budget cuts, eliminating some 16 positions.
The County Judge's Office is losing its court manager. That employee has been working for the county judge for seven and a half years, but Monday will be her last day.
"That's what hurts, is that these are employees that have given their livelihood to this county, have been with us for a long long time and all of a sudden, you know, tough decisions have been made by us and the commissioners," Brooks County Judge Raul Ramirez said. "To realize because the money's not there, it's like in your personal household. You have to make decisions that are tough, and they hurt. They really hurt."
On Tuesday, in his Judge Ramirez went over the budget figures. The cuts span various department. The general fund alone is losing more than $1.2 million, and the county is also cutting more than $700,000 in health insurance benefits. The dependent coverage has been dropped, and the budget cuts have also had some very visible impacts.
"You probably noticed when you drove up that the grass hasn't been cut," Ramirez said. "That's one of the cuts we made, so, I was talking to my maintenance foreman this morning and he informed me that, you know, people are stepping up. I know that some of the employees at the courthouse have offered to come and help cut the grass."
Ramirez said his office alone has seen a cut from $127,000 to $79,000. The judge blames the budget cuts on a loss of revenue in the oil and gas industry, as well as having to pay for the costs of recovering the bodies illegal immigrants that are found in Brooks County.
Judge Ramirez said that, if the county received financial assistance from the federal government, such as the Department of Homeland Security, it would be a different story.
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