ABILENE, Texas (KRBC/KTAB)-Taylor County has implemented a system known as “emergency pay” to compensate for any hours an employee is unable to come to work if he or she has been directly impacted by COVID-19. This system so far has accumulated $300,000 in wages over a span of three pay periods, according to Judge Downing Bolls.

Judge Bolls said this money has been budgeted for the fiscal year. However, employees who are benefitting from this system are not permitted to work more than 40 hours per week.

“If they have closed your child’s daycare center–if you have nobody–if you have somebody elderly at home and you come to work and spread to them–all of those create that emergency situation for us so we wanted to try to keep everybody as safe as we could,” said Bolls. “I think their reaction was to that was ‘Phew, that’s just one less thing I have to worry about.'”

Bolls said as this pandemic continues, the county government is also looking to 2021, when the statewide tax cap at 3.5 percent will officially be implemented.

“As we get unfunded mandates from the state and we have to include those, and those take priority over other things,” said Bolls. “It is going to be a very tight budget this year. We know that, and whether we can live in that 3.5% or exceed that I just don’t know.”

Bolls said the county has noticed a drop in revenue as many county offices are facing limited hours, but he is hoping those will soon be allowed to re-open per Gov. Abbot’s orders.

“The money is there to pay those costs, and so that’s where we are with it. But, as we were meeting earlier this week we just wanted to go ahead and let everybody know we’re getting ready to move back and get back open and busy.”