Deadline Looms in Wilkes-Barre

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WILKES-BARRE --The deadline is Tuesday at noon for Wilkes-Barre city workers to sign up for a retirement incentive plan.

The city has a multi-million dollar budget shortfall.

Last month, Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton asked city workers to take voluntary furloughs to help close that financial gap, but he said not enough people signed up.

Then the city offered an alternative retirement plan to city employees eligible to retire.

Under that plan, eligible workers would receive $400 per month stipends between January of 2013 and December 2015. That stipend replaces health care coverage for spouses and other dependents. Retirement would begin on November 21.

City leaders said the retirement incentive is the best option to improve city finances without lots of layoffs.

The mayor said final decisions on layoffs will be made after seeing how many people sign up for retirement.