The Madison County Board could approve a deal next week to save nine of the 12 jobs that were on the chopping block in the new year. AFSCME members came up with an idea to use money that was sitting in an insurance fund that was barely being used to fund early retirements for some of the county's older employees. The proposal goes before the board on Wednesday.

The insurance fund comes from negotiations in 2005 in which the county agreed to help its employees offset the cost of insuring dependents. Fewer employees than anticipated took advantage of the fund, so that money is now available. The early retirement option will be available for any employee who turns 60 before November 30 of next year and has at least eight years of service, or any employee over 55 with at least 35 years of service. The 2012 budget shows a reduction in 23 positions from the previous year- most through retirements or employees moving on to other opportunities. During County Board Chairman Alan Dunstan's tenure, the county payroll has been reduced by about 200 employees.