SKANEATELES — The Skaneateles Village Board of Trustees narrowly approved a new law opting into the state’s temporary retirement incentive program at its regularly scheduled meeting Monday night.
Trustees Tim Lynn and Marty Hubbard voted against the new law, identified as Local Law 4 of 2010, and Marc Angelillo, Sue Jones and Mayor Bob Green voted for it.
The state Legislature passed the incentive program earlier this year as a way for local municipalities to save money by eliminating unneeded positions from their budgets.
As outlined in the legislation, a person who is at least 50 years old and has 10 years of service with the municipality, or is 55 years old with five years of service, is eligible for an additional month of pension up to 36 months for every year of service beyond the number of years mandated for eligibility.
At the meeting, Green said eight village employees were eligible to take part in Part A of the program, but only six voiced interest in early retirement.
According to the village’s law, eligible employees can sign up for the program in the 47 days between Aug. 30 and Oct. 15.
“The cost savings will be in eliminating the positions of the people who accept early retirement,” Green said during a public hearing before the board took the vote on the new law.
To opt into the incentive program, municipalities must prove to the state they can reduce spending by 50 percent for at least two years. This could be achieved by leaving the vacated positions unfilled for a year, reducing the salaries of the positions or dropping the jobs altogether.
The village showed heavy interest in the program after it was announced the 911 call center at the Skaneateles Fire Station will close by the end of this year. Three of the dispatchers at the soon to be shuttered center are eligible for the retirement incentive program.
After the law passed, Lynn addressed his “no” vote, explaining he believed not enough time was taken to look at the actual impact of the program on the village budget.
“It’s just not a prudent use of taxpayer money,” he said. “If we could have taken the time to make it a targeted early retirement incentive, my vote may have been different. It’s not going to save us much money this way.”
Hubbard, who also voted against the law, expressed similar reservations.
He released a memo he wrote to the board in July, which he said explained his position.
“At first introduction, early retirement appeared to be part of the solution,” the memo reads. “... The cost of $120,000 General Fund is a cross we will have to bear next spring. Additional layoffs will be required because we enhanced retiree pensions.”
To opt into the state’s program, participating municipalities must pay the state retirement system for the cost of each employee participating. The money can be paid as either a lump sum, for a discount, or in five installments.
Earlier this month, the Skaneateles Central School Board decided against offering the program, saying the district could not generate enough savings to justify its adoption.
Staff writer Nathan Baker can be reached at 282-2238 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at Citizen Baker.