The Normal Town Council is hoping to downsize its payroll because of revenue losses.
The council on Monday approved a voluntary early retirement incentive package without discussion. Mayor Chris Koos said the package would appeal to those who are already close to retiring and who don’t hold key positions in the workforce, but specified that no particular group is being targeted.
“(The incentives include) a little bit of money, an extension of health care, the fact that they’re getting close to retirement. They can get some health care they wouldn’t normally have gotten in retirement,” Koos said on GLT's Sound Ideas on Tuesday. “We think those are reasonable incentives, and again, it’s people that are close to retirement, anyway.”
City Manager Mark Peterson said even if only a few of the 18 people eligible take the offer, the town would be reluctant to forcibly lay off other employees to close the gap.
"At some point in time, organizations have to choose to reduce their expenses, and that sometimes means reducing their staffing levels. We see that as a last resort."
As preparation for next year's budget continues, the town may look at other ways to cut the bottom line or boost revenue. But Koos said these budget problems may continue in the years to come.
“It’s going to be a tough budget year going forward,” Koos said. “(There) may be tough budget years going forward three or four years. A lot of it is dependent on what happens in the workforce, sales taxes, and utility taxes. Frankly, municipalities all over the United States are going to have to look at their funding. They relied on sales taxes for so many years as a primary source, and that’s proving to be a dwindling source of revenue.”
Staff say the aforementioned flat sales tax receipts, lower income tax revenue, state rake-offs and the loss of more than $1 million from the Metro Zone are creating the need to cut town spending.
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