Medford police officers will receive a 2 percent salary increase this year and again in 2014, along with a 1.5 percent increase retroactive to July 1, 2012, the City Council decided Thursday.
The council's action paves the way toward resolving wage and benefit disputes with the Medford Police Officers Association. Because there were two votes in opposition, the council will have to reaffirm its vote at its next meeting before the agreement can be ratified.
"I want to commend both sides," Councilor Chris Corcoran said after the vote. "This could have gone to binding arbitration."
Corcoran and other councilors said avoiding an extended dispute saves the city money by avoiding drawn out negotiations.
"This is certainly a modest increase at best," Corcoran said.
Wage and benefit increases will cost the city $135,000 in the first year, $185,000 in the second year, and $190,000 in the third year.
The amount that the city contributes for health insurance will increase from $1,200 monthly to $1,280 as of Jan. 1.
On Jan. 1, 2014, the insurance cap will increase to $1,370, and on Jan. 1, 2015, the cap will be bumped to $1,465.
The agreement covers 111 employees of the Police Department.
In other actions, the council also approved a four-year wage agreement with the Water Reclamation Division operators.
The previous bargaining agreement expired on June 30, 2010.
No wage increases were given in the first two years of the new agreement. A retroactive 1 percent increase was granted as of July 1, 2012, and a 1.9 percent increase is set for July 1, 2013.
The maximum amount of health insurance coverage the city will pay would be adjusted from $1,075 monthly to $1,095 in July. Another increase to $1,170 will take effect on Jan. 1, 2014.
Councilors Karen Blair and Eli Matthews cast the only votes against both the police and water reclamation raises but didn't offer a reason during the meeting.
Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.