PORTLAND — Portland police and the city have settled on a new contract nearly six months after the old one expired, but with a lot less rancor than some past negotiations.

The 125 officers and detectives in the Police Benevolent Association will get pay raises of 1.5 percent for the first year of the contract, which covers the period from July 2010 to June 2011, and 1 percent for the final six months of the agreement, which ends in December 2011.

City Manager Joe Gray said the talks were free of the posturing and demands that often characterize collective bargaining because both sides were realistic about the state of the city’s budget.

“We understood and they understood the financial circumstances confronting the city,” he said.

Nicole Clegg, spokeswoman for City Hall, said the raises had been factored into the city’s current budget and Gray recently said he doesn’t anticipate having to make any midyear adjustment to the current spending plan. City officials are, however, concerned about next year’s budget, given the likelihood of cutbacks in state revenue sharing due to a looming budget gap facing the incoming governor and lawmakers in Augusta.

“We recognize right now there are difficult times for everybody, the city and the taxpayers,” said Eric Nevins, a patrolman and president of the union. He added that the negotiations, even though they carried on past the expiration of the last contract, were “pretty positive, overall.”

The city and firefighters union reached an agreement on an 18-month contract in July. That agreement calls for no increase in base pay, but the city pledged not to lay off firefighters during the duration of the contract, which runs until the end of 2011.

Nevins said the police union had a no-layoff clause in its last contract because it knew there was no chance of a raise, given the city’s financial position at the time. The new contract lacks that protection, he said, but the union says the department is so short of officers and detectives — due to those who left the force and weren’t replaced — that layoffs would force the city to pay overtime to maintain minimal coverage.

“As of right now, we’re so short-staffed that I really don’t see that as an issue going forward,” he said.

Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

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