The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

February 5, 2013

Ashtabula will lay off only two employees

By SHELLEY TERRY - sterry@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

ASHTABULA — City Manager Jim Timonere shared a bit of good news at Monday night’s City Council meeting — he will lay off far fewer workers than previously anticipated.

That news was tempered with the fact that the city will have to borrow money to offer an early retirement incentive plan to employees ready to retire in three departments (Public Works, Sanitation and at the Wastewater Treatment Plant). The voluntary retirements allow the city to keep more workers on payroll, he said.

Timonere said two people will be laid off this month and he hopes they won’t have to be laid off for a whole year.

In December, Timonere said up to nine employees were headed to the unemployment line.

Monday’s lesser number came about after Timonere and City Auditor Dana Pinkert crunched numbers, he said. 

They took expected revenue ($120,000 from public works) and $115,000 from the unemployment fund, and then added a position at the waste water treatment plant by changing the requirements so they could fill it in-house, Timonere said.

In the meantime, City Treasurer Lori Mackey checked with a bond counsel about borrowing money to buy time towards employees’ retirement with the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System.

Pinkert said the city is looking at buying two years. For example, if the employee has 28 years in with the city, the city could ‘buy’ two years and the employee would retire with 30 years.