By Mary Thurwachter

The Lantana Town Council, at its Feb. 26 meeting, approved a collective bargaining agreement between the town and the Palm Beach County Police Benevolent Association. The agreement, which reflects an overall 5 percent salary increase for sworn officers, is good from Oct.1, 2018 through Sept. 30, 2020.
Some of the differences from previous contracts, said Mayor Dave Stewart, include giving officers promoted to detective 10 percent increases to their hourly rate, giving officers promoted to sergeant 15 percent increases, and giving detectives who are promoted to sergeant 5 percent increases.
Any officer selected as Employee of the Quarter receives a bonus day off equal to his scheduled shift hours.
Lantana has 32 sworn officers; another will be added in April.
Stewart said that for this coming fiscal year, the increases reflected in the new contract will cost the town $162,000, and $167,000 the year after.
Dave Arm, Chamber of Commerce president, supported the contract.
“One of the nice things about living in a small seaside town is the fact that we have our own Police Department,” he said. “In my 10 years here, I’ve found them to be incredibly responsive. They take care of problems efficiently.
“You need to retain good officers like this and a 5 percent increase doesn’t sound like a whole lot to me. A 10 percent increase for someone who gets a promotion sounds pretty standard.”
In other action, the town:
• Approved spending $96,000 for enhancements at the sports complex on Eighth Street. Among the improvements will be the construction of a basketball court.
• Recognized Cmdr. Robert Hagerty as Police Department employee of the fourth quarter of 2017. For the past six months, he has coordinated the move to and renovation of the new police headquarters next to the sports complex.

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