Upper Merion Township police have avoided layoffs by reaching a deal with the township to defer a contractual pay raise.

Township supervisors had unanimously authorized the 2010 layoffs of four of the 64 police officers at a Dec. 10 meeting, citing financial difficulties and an impasse over the pay raise.

An agreement this week ends that possibility, officials with the township and police union said. The deal calls for the police force to forego its raise for 2010 and instead accept 96 hours of comp time, which can be taken as leave or paid out over the following three years.

The police bargaining unit agreed Monday night to the arrangement, which the township is expected to sign formally soon, Police Cpl. Andy Fidler said today.

"It was [the township's] counteroffer to an offer we made, so we believe they're going to agree," Fidler said.