Starting April 21, the city began offering eligible employees an incentive package to retire as part of an ongoing effort to bridge a $6.6 million budget shortfall. The city is in the final stages of preparing a budget for 2009‐10, which will be recommended to City Council early next month. The budget must be adopted in June.
Several different strategies are being considered as options to help balance the budget, with the focus on maintaining core services without laying off employees. A combination of those strategies will be used to develop the budget, including reductions in all city departments.
The city estimates that about 100 employees are eligible for regular or early retirement and could save an estimated $1 million, depending on how many employees decide to retire and how many vacated positions remain unfilled. Letters were sent to the homes of eligible employees on April 21 with the deadline to sign up May 15 and July 1 as the general effective retirement date.
City Manager Sterling Cheatham will present a recommended budget to City Council on May 5.