Leesburg leaders give some city employees early retirement to cut budget



LEESBURG, Fla. - Leeburg leaders are looking to trim the city’s budget and believe giving some employees the option to retire early is the answer.

The city plan could cut about $1.9 million from the budget.

“We’re looking to cut somewhere in the range of one and a half or $1.6 million out of the budget,” said Leesburg spokesperson Robert Sargent.

Leaders said 65 percent of their operating costs comes from staffing, so they decided to give employees who were close to retirement the option of leaving early.

Fifteen out of 54 eligible employees decided to take the deal, which will mean big savings for the city.

“We expect to save somewhere in the range of $1.9 million within the first five years,” Sargent said.

Employees from various departments, ranging from human resources and customer service to police and fire, took early retirement, including Leesburg’s Police Chief William Chrisman, who’s been with the department for 25 years.

The city also doesn’t have any plans to fill five of those positions, mainly in the police and fire departments.

Residents said they support the plan, but with some conditions.

“I’m fine with it. I think it’s a good thing, as long as you don’t go and double-dip,” said resident Frank Hebscher.

City leaders said once the employees are done, they won’t be coming back, and most will be gone by the end of the month.