By Katya Yefimova For The Herald
EDMONDS — The city expects to have fewer people on its payroll next year.
To close the anticipated gap in next year’s budget, city officials decided to offer buyouts.
All regular employees are eligible, regardless of how many years they’ve worked for the city.
Workers have until Aug. 1 to apply.
As of last Monday, seven people had turned in their applications, Mayor Dave Earling said.
“The staff has taken it pretty well but, knowing about the budget challenges, people are concerned about potential layoffs,” he said.
Earling said it’s too early to talk about the specifics of next year’s budget.
The goal is to eliminate some full-time positions without affecting city services. Earling says it can be done.
A shortfall of about $1.3 million is projected for next year. That number is expected to grow to $3 million by 2015 or 2016.
The city has about 200 full-time employees — fewer per capita than cities with comparable populations, according to the mayor.
Last year, salaries and benefits accounted for more than half of all general fund spending.
Those who accept buyouts will receive several months’ worth of salary, depending on how long they’ve worked for the city. Those with more than 15 years of service will be offered six months of pay.
Partial, temporary health care coverage also is available as part of the deal.
It’s not yet clear how much money the city will be able to save with the program.
“We don’t know what the outcome will be until we see what’s in front of us,” Earling said.