Knox County is turning to some of its longest serving employees to help it save money.
County employees who are over 50 years old and have 20 consecutive years of service can opt for early retirement.
Knox County treasurer Robin Davis says about 45 of the 450 on staff are eligible.
Davis says if everyone takes advantage the county will save $1.2 million in the first year.
“Where it saves money is you can hire new employees so you create a job opportunity for other people," Davis said. "But you can hire a new employee at a lower wage so you also reduce the benefits you have on the books.”
Davis says about 20 employees have expressed interest so far. The program will run from July 2014 through June 2015.
The early retirement option is offered by the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund. Anyone who participates cannot work for any IMRF employer in the future.
Knox County also offered an early retirement option to employees in 2003 and 2008.