UPDATE 10/1/12 @ 9:30 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- All Charleston city employees will receive a pay raise after City Council voted in favor of the measure during Monday night's meeting.
Employees will receive a 3 percent bump in pay. The city is using about $750,000 to fund the increase, which will be spread to police officers, firefighters and maintenance workers.
Charleston city Manager David Molegaard says city employees more than deserve this raise -- the first since July 2009.
Charleston City Manager David Molgaard tells WSAZ.com after closing out last year's budget the city was left with $1.2 million.
Molgaard says at least $750,000 will be doled out, giving an across-the-board three percent increase to all city workers.
Firefighters, police officers and work crews are all included under the city's amendment. There hasn't been an overall pay increase since July 2009, according to Molgaard.
"We have to award the people who are out there who are providing the services today," City Manager David Molgaard said. "If things had not taken a dip our employees would be further ahead because we had always projected keeping up with the cost of living. As it stands now, they're behind several years."
The city manager says 22 percent of the city's budget goes to firefighters and another 22 percent goes to police officers. Under the current structure, the city now must pay all retiree benefits out of the city's general fund. The city has set aside $400,000 from last year's surplus to account for that.
Charleston firefighters say they're happy they'll finally get a little extra padding to their pockets.
"It's definitely a great day for all city workers anytime you get any kind of raise," fire union president Benjamin Bush said.
However, firefighters say it's also a catch 22 and a bittersweet day since first responders claim they're lacking manpower.
"While you want raises for yourself and the guys we already have, there are guys that are ready to be hired, that are ready to come on the job," Bush said. "We'd like to see that happen also -- something we'd like to work with the city on."
City officials say they're confident the city is properly protected and the staffing levels are appropriate.
City Council is expected to pass the budget amendment during its meeting Monday night.
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