The Town Board of Clifton Park passed a resolution last Monday that will implement a retirement incentive for certain town employees with the goal of saving the town money on salaries and benefit costs.
According to the resolution, which was approved by the board unanimously, argued that such an incentive program would both fairly compensate long-time town employees while also helping the town save money on salaries.
Town employees who are either 62 years old and and have at least 10 years of service with the town, or who are 55 years old and have at least 20 years of service with the town are eligible for the $12,000 incentive payment provided they retire on or before June 30.
Employees who wish to take advantage of the payout must, according to the resolution, file retirement papers with the state retirement system and provide written notice of their intention to retire to the town by May 19. Elected officials are not eligible for the payout.
This is not the first time the town has provided a retirement incentive payoff. According to Clifton Park Town Supervisor Phil Barrett, a similar incentive was offered around 2010 or 2011.
Though Barrett didn't have specific numbers for the amount of people who took advantage of the payout last time, or how many would this time, he did note that the number of employees eligible for the payout was last time a "relatively small" percentage of the workforce, and that there were a couple of people who took advantage of the offer.
That will probably remain the same this time around, he said.
"I don't expect a large number of people to participate. I think it'll be a very small number. But, you never know," he said.
The age limits listed in the resolution are key age limits taken directly from the New York State Retirement System. The bulk of the savings from the incentive payout would be realized through new employees replacing higher cost employees with many years of time and service behind him, Barrett said.
While Barrett said that it is prudent to occasionally offer the program, the retirement incentive payout is not a program that the board approves each year.
When new employees begin working for the town, it could take decades for them to get to the level of time served where they would even be eligible, and there might not always be employees working for the town each year who meet the payout criteria.
"It's important to consistently analyze the demographics of the work force," Barrett said. Considerations include the time of service of current employees, their average age, and balancing the budget also comes into play when making the decision.
"Every individual needs to make a decision, to see what's best for them and their families. Everyone is in a different position," Barrett said.
In 2019, the town approved a $17.5 million budget that calls for a slight spending increase. That increase in spending stems directly from rising healthcare costs for town employees, according to town officials. Just over $2.8 million was set aside in the 2019 budget for employee benefits, including Social Security, Medicare, and worker's compensation.