Overtime is also being addressed with protocol changes, limiting officers to three hours regardless of how many recall events might occur.
All of these changes are estimated to save the town $37,000 this year, which will help offset the cost of raises totaling $70,000. Also, the board has to retroactively distribute 2010 raises, which is estimated to cost $49,500.
"We don't have any way to offset the cost," said Koetzle about the 2010 raises, which he hopes to avoid dipping into the fund balance to compensate.
For 2010, the department is receiving a 2.75 percent raise and the salary increases for the current and following year will have mid-year bumps in raises. For the first half of 2010, there is a 1.5 percent raise and in July there will be another 1.5 percent raise, which totals to 2.25 percent for the year. The same increments in raises will also occur in 2012.
"The board recognizes that our town police department is a good, or I would say, even better than most of the county, if not all. We also recognize that other departments pay their officers higher salaries," said Koetzle. "If the town had chosen to allow this process to proceed to arbitration, we may not have had a resolution until late this year or even next year."
He said this would delay health insurance savings and an arbitration board can only determine two years, so the board would be renegotiating the contract for the 2012 budget. The average annual wage increase through arbitration over the past year, said Koetzle, was 3 percent, which the board believed was too high for the residents to afford.
Town Attorney Michael Cuevas said the negotiated contract is "sort of back to the original proposal" offered to the union. A streamlined disciplinary process is also planned to save administrative and legal time long-term.