Township to Reduce Staff, Offer Early Retirements
Manager Jon Hammer said the township will have to make difficult staffing decisions to stay on sound financial footing.
South Whitehall is planning to offer some of its employees an early retirement package in an effort to reduce township staff in a challenging economy.
The number of employees to be offered early retirements has not yet been determined, Manager Jon Hammer said.
The township will be working out the details in upcoming weeks, including the departments that might be affected as well as the staffing level that the township will need to reach, he said.
However, Hammer said, no police officers will be offered an early retirement, and those ranks will not be reduced.
The effort was disclosed Wednesday night, as South Whitehall commissioners, at their meeting, passed a resolution that will allow the township to implement the early retirement program.
"We may lose talented employees," Hammer said, but added that the effort will help put South Whitehall on a path to financial stability. Salaries and benefits account for 79 percent of the township budget.
The township has about 110 full-time and 10 part-time employees.
The resolution states that the township manager will identify a group of employees to be offered early retirements but that it will be voluntary whether they take it.
The township has not had a property tax increase in more than two decades, with officials having credited careful planning and other matters. But Hammer had cautioned in December that the commissioners would need to consider raising real estate taxes or user fees in coming years because of the financial challenges that municipalities everywhere are facing in a difficult economy.
The current budget included a 2 percent pay increase for employees.