BOWIE COUNTY, TX (KSLA) - Bowie County employees are anxiously waiting to see how action taken by county commissioners will affect their paychecks.
Commissioners voted to cut all county employees' salaries by 15 percent, except elected officials, and now some say this action could also affect public safety.
"We are trying to look at the options we have," Bowie County Sheriff James Prince said in a meeting Friday. "None of the options are good. None of them."
Prince told the group of sheriff's office employees they will have to decide whether to cut salaries by 15 percent or lay off employees.
"We are going to have to cut some people right now," he said. "That seems like our strongest option."
The sheriff's office is worried about how this cut will affect officer safety as well. Capt. David Grable said they've had two deputies killed in the last eight years in their department.
"We are already one of the lowest paid departments," Grable said.
"The cut in pay basically means our department goes back 10 years or more," Lt. Todd Fore said.
The suggested cuts will affect other county employees as well. Employees at the county courthouse in New Boston, Texas would not talk on camera but did say there was a lot of tension Friday as people worried about the future of their jobs.
The biggest question they have is what happened to the $5 million the county borrowed to make it through the fiscal year.
There was a 4-1 vote for the 15 percent pay cut with County Judge Sterling Lacy casting the only nay vote. Lacy said he feels such drastic measures were not needed.
The county commissioners will revisit this issue again during a meeting Monday at 10 a.m.
"It is sad. Somebody is going to lose no matter which way we go," said Prince, who added the citizens will be the ones hurting through these service cuts.