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Largo again turns to early retirement offers as budget cutting tools

Faced with reducing the city's budget by $3.5 million next year, Largo city commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday night to offer employees early retirement incentives for the third year in a row.

The incentives, in the form of up to six months pay and health benefits, will be offered to employees who are 59.5 years old and have at least five years service.

Twelve months of health coverage will be offered to employees who have served for 23 years or are 55 or older and have served at least 10 years.

"We are projecting we will have to reduce next year's budget," said Assistant City Manager Henry Schubert. "It could result in layoffs. This is trying to reduce the number of layoffs by offering individuals the opportunity to retire early,"

Last year, 14 people accepted a similar offer from the city to retire early. That saved the city $317,000.

Schubert said he hopes at least as many take the offer this year.

Susan Sinz, human resource manager, said out of the city's 830 employees, 112 are eligible for the retirement incentives.

According to the proposal presented to commissioners, the goal is to not fill the vacancies created by the early retirement incentive program.

"The time has to be right," Sinz told commissioners during her presentation. "We're hoping to garner the strength of perfect timing in people's lives to take advantage of this cost-saving measure."

Reach Dominick Tao at dtao@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4154.

Largo again turns to early retirement offers as budget cutting tools 01/19/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 19, 2010 9:16pm]

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