OGDENSBURG, N.Y. (WWNY) - The city of Ogdensburg, looking to trim the cost of operating the fire department, is offering firefighters $20,000 to retire.
The offer comes as welcome news to the union representing firefighters.
“It’s just nice to see that the city is offering incentives rather than layoffs,” said Ogdensburg Professional Firefighters Local 1799 President Jason Bouchard.
City Manager Stephen Jellie made the appeal last week to give $20,000 to any member of the fire department willing to retire by the end of January 2021.
He said it’s an effort to reduce staffing without laying off personnel.
“These costs are rising each year, at a rate much faster than revenues are increasing, a fact that we have known for many years. I am once again asking the firefighter’s union to join us in our pursuit of saving the City of Ogdensburg from financial ruin while vigorously working toward reviving the city,” said Jellie in an email.
Ogdensburg’s proposed 2021 budget plans to cut 10 firefighter jobs. That has led to a bitter impasse between the city and the firefighters union.
Bouchard said 10 members are eligible to take the retirement incentive and that he plans to meet with them Tuesday evening.
Jellie has asked Bouchard to notify the city by December 18 if any firefighters are interested in the offer.
Final approval of any incentive award will be made by city council and the New York State Financial Restructuring Board.