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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spokane expected to draw $10 million from reserves to fund new police contract


The Spokane City Council is preparing to vote on a nearly $10 million special budget item to fund the retroactive raises included in the Spokane Police Guild’s new labor agreement.

The council approved the contract on March 1 and the Spokane Police Guild’s membership passed it the following day. It is the first agreement between the city and its police officers since the previous agreement expired at the end of 2016.

The city will draw from its reserves to fund the pay increases, which were anticipated and did not play a prominent role in the public discussion around the proposed contract. Instead, council members’ focus was on the agreement’s effect on independent civilian oversight of police officer conduct.

The contract’s financial details were significant both to the city and to officers, who had worked without pay increases for several years while negotiations were ongoing.

Because the previous deal had lapsed more than four years ago, the raises negotiated in the new contract are applied retroactively.

Officers negotiated pay raises of 2.25% in 2017, 3% in each of the following three years, and 2.5% in 2021.

The city’s 2021 budget already accounted for the expected raises, so it only had to dip into reserves for the retroactive pay increases.

The total of the special budget ordinance, expected to be voted on in the coming weeks, totals $9.9 million.

In passing the contract, City Council members said the new agreement reaches the level of police oversight demanded by the voter-approved City Charter.