Keokuk, IA – Some members of the Keokuk Police Department will be getting a pay hike. An arbitrator has ruled that the 19 officers and dispatchers in the police bargaining unit will receive a 4.5% pay hike in the fiscal year that begins in July. In his ruling, the arbitrator cited how hourly wages for the officers in the bargaining unit are far below other law enforcement officers in Southeast Iowa. Furthermore, he says over the last 7 years, the gap in hourly wages between the Keokuk bargaining unit and other Southeast Iowa law enforcement officers has also increased significantly. Negotiations between city leaders and the bargaining unit began last fall, but with no agreement reached, the arbitrator was brought in a couple of weeks ago. Alderman Gary Stepp says the city did not account for a 4.5% pay hike in next year's spending plan. He says the financial impact on the police department's budget will be about $11,000. The bargaining unit's current 3-year contract took effect July 1, 2005. It called for a wage freeze in year 1 and for wages to be negotiated in years 2 and 3.