Augusta Police Department patches. Credit: Augusta Police Department

Augusta city councilors and city police have agreed on a new contract that will increase pay for certain officers by 20 percent over two years.

The deal was reached after union and city negotiators agreed that Maine police departments of similar size were paying their officers significantly more than Augusta. The Kennebec Journal reports next year the increased police pay is expected to increase the police budget by about $200,000.

City Manager William Bridgeo says Augusta was at a competitive disadvantage in offering pay, and the city wants to recruit high-quality officers.

Officials say police will pick up a larger share of costs associated with health care as a trade-off.

Councilors approved the new contracts unanimously Thursday.

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