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Southwest Florida Water Management District to Shed up to 150 Employees

The state agency that oversees water supplies in the 16 counties around Tampa Bay will shed 130 to 150 of its 768 employees by early next year, its board decided Tuesday.

Employees of the Southwest Florida Water Management District will be offered a voluntary separation plan that will be available for 45 days. If that doesn't work, then involuntary layoffs will follow in January or February, officials at the agency commonly known as SWFWMD announced.

The reason for the cutback: This spring, Gov. Rick Scott and the Legislature slashed how much SWFWMD could collect in taxes. As a result, the Brooksville-based agency has already cut its budget to 44 percent of what it was last year, but still faces a potential $30 million budget shortfall by 2013, agency officials say.