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Early retirement lowering budget

By Staff | Nov 29, 2010

Kathy Bailey

The Blue Earth City Council spent another Monday night work session examining the budget almost line-by-line, cutting back in numerous areas.

Plus, they received a surprise proposal from an employee which could save even more in the 2011 budget.

Public Works Director Richard ‘Dick’ LaMont told the council he is considering retirement this next year.

LaMont’s proposal was to retire by the end of March, if the city would pay his accrued sick pay, and two months of health insurance.

City Administrator Kathy Bailey told the council that the money for those two expenses are actually in the budget now, for 12 full months.

Bailey says she and LaMont have discussed whether the council would want to replace him with a new employee, or promote two current employees to manage the public works department.

“Or there might be another plan developed,” Bailey says. “But in any case, we would see some savings in the budget.

Councilman Glenn Gaylord praised LaMont as a great employee.

“We would hate to lose you, Dick,” Gaylord says. “But, I can see how this would be beneficial to the city, as far as the budget is concerned.

LaMont agreed, calling it a win-win situation, both for him and the city.

Not all of the budget discussions last Monday were that positive.

Councilman Dan Brod had numerous questions dealing with salaries.

“I totalled all of the salaries for the city and came up with $959,000,” he said. “If we are doing a zero increase in wages, why is this $50,000 higher than last year?

Brod also questioned having much of the mowing done on a contractual basis.

“I still am not convinced we are saving any money by hiring the mowing done, and not doing it ourselves,” he said.

Bailey says she will have LaMont give an update on the actual costs at the next meeting.

Mayor Rob Hammond told the council they should plan on voting on all of the budget changes at the first meeting in December. The final vote on the 2011 budget would be at the second meeting in December.