Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell said he’s gained a new “political foe” unlike any he has encountered before: squirrels.

“Those squirrels, literally, have cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Gravell said in a May 23 Williamson County Commissioners Court meeting. “There is no telling how much money we’ve actually spent on squirrels.”

According to the county, squirrels recently grounded out a city of Georgetown electrical service pole transformer, causing two chillers and other equipment at the Williamson County Justice Center to operate on two-thirds power. With one of three power legs out, it caused damage to two of the four chillers at the facility.

The cost to repair the chiller was estimated above the value of replacement chillers, which will cost roughly $400,000 for both. In the meantime, the county is renting a temporary chiller for $13,600 a month to service the building as it waits for new units to arrive, which are expected in April 2024.

“When you think about squirrels costing us nearly half a million dollars, that’s a problem, and we still don’t have those chillers,” Gravell said.