After almost 20 years of serving as the city’s collector, Lynne Huff has decided to retire, Mayor Ron Blum said.

Blum informed the board of aldermen Monday night during their regular meeting that Huff, 60, is calling it quits, probably sometime in April. He made copies of a letter he received earlier in the day from Huff announcing her intent.

“In the past few months I have been contemplating a decision that has not come lightly,” Huff wrote in her letter to the mayor and the board members. “I have decided to retire from my position as city collector effective in April 2013.”

Huff also has told The Missourian she is retiring, but at this time has opted not to discuss the decision in detail.

She did cite personal and health reasons.

“I have enjoyed my job and had not ever considered leaving until the past few months,” the letter read. “In light of my personal losses and from a health standpoint, I feel like this is the right decision for me at this time.”

Huff first was elected to the position in 1994 and in 2012 was elected to her sixth term. She beat three challengers last year by picking up 70 percent of the total vote.

After her first term, she won re-election in 1996 when the length of service was increased to four years. She won subsequent elections in 2000, 2004 and 2008.

“It has been a pleasure to work with you and Mayor Blum the past few years, and I will continue to support you in all of your endeavors,” Huff’s letter reads. “I would like to say I am so proud of you and all of your hard work to make this community a better place to live and work, and I feel confident that you will accomplish this goal.

“Please know my that my decision did not come easily and is for personal reasons only.”

The city collector is responsible for the billings and collections of all the service debts owed to the municipality, including water, sewer and refuse billings, business licenses and animal registration tags.

Last year, Huff put together her re-election plan focusing on “maintaining exceptional public service and supporting the city while performing the tasks of the job.”

Blum told the board of aldermen on Monday night that it needs to consider the future of the position as well as the plan on how to proceed. He said the matter will be discussed in future board meetings.

Since her resignation will take place in April, “we have time for consideration of her replacement,” Blum said. “I’m giving you this information today so we can discuss it further later.”

Since indications are that Huff will retire after this year’s April 2 municipal election, someone will have to be appointed to fill the position until the next election, which would be in April 2014. Whomever is elected at that time would serve the remaining two years until 2016.

Blum said he will be sorry to see Huff go.

“Lynne is an outstanding individual,” the mayor said. “She does an excellent job and works well with the public. She knows everyone and serves the city well.”

Since she first took office, Huff has served under three mayors and seven city administrators.

After she was re-elected last April, she said that the collector’s position has been “not just a job to me, it never has been. It’s my career.”