Rotterdam workers offered early retirement

For those who work for the Town of Rotterdam and have been considering retirement but aren't sure they're ready or qualified a new incentive might provide that extra nudge. To save money in the proposed 2009 budget, some town employees are being offered an early-retirement package, but they must let officials know by Thursday, Oct. 30, if they want to take it.

Rotterdam Supervisor Steven Tommasone said the town is finding it difficult to keep costs at zero because of a state taxation system that doesn't lend itself to local revenue sharing.

"To help us out with our budget for 2009, we are offering employees who qualify to the opportunity to retire early," said Tommasone.

Town officials said they are hoping the employee retirement incentive, discussed along with the budget at the Wednesday, Oct. 22 Town Board meeting, will save the town and taxpayers some money.

"It will help us with our current budget so that we don't have to take any other actions to [save money]," said Tommasone.

Rotterdam employees who would like to participate in the program must be eligible to retire from the New York State Employees' retirement system.

Employees who participate aren't going to receive extra money for retiring, but they will receive their benefits a little faster than they would have otherwise.

"It basically accelerates the health benefits [received] at retirement for employees who are eligible under the New York State Employees' retirement system to retire, but who may not have [served] enough years of town service to get these benefits," said Patrick Aragosa, Rotterdam comptroller.

Tommasone said the town is not yet in a position where drastic measures, such as job layoffs, are necessary.

"That's where we are right now, and I'm hopeful that employees who qualify will take advantage of it and really enjoy themselves. We might have an opportunity next year for the town to potentially put one or two of these positions back into the workforce should the economy turn around and our revenue and expenses look better," said Tommasone.

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