Cuyahoga County hopes to balance its 2009 budget by offering employee buyouts that proponents said could save the cash-strapped county up to $158 million. The county currently faces a $65 million budget shortfall heading into fiscal 2009.

The buyout plan, expected to be released in the next few weeks, would offer full retirement to more than 1,700 employees who are within three years of retirement age. If they all took the offer, it would reportedly save $259 million in salaries and benefits. The county would also offer to re-hire retiring workers for part-time work, without benefits. The largest county in Ohio, Cuyahoga County has 9,000 employees.

The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System and Cuyahoga County Commissioners would need to approve the plan.

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