YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Youngstown City Council met Wednesday night and voted to approve a raise for the fire department that includes a significant raise for newly hired firefighters.

The raise for new firefighters will be 46 percent over three years, taking it from about $25,000 a year to $37,000 a year.

It’s needed to stay competitive with what other departments are paying.

All current firefighters will also get raises.

It will cost the general fund about $1.3 million, with most of that expected to come in 2023.

“Our population is in a decline. Our economic development has stalled out completely. So in order for us to sustain this level of growth in our city departments and making sure that people are paid what they deserve, we’ve got to bring businesses into the city, along with residents,” said 3rd Ward Councilwoman Samantha Turner.

Charlie Smith, president of the Youngstown Firefighters Union said, “This contract is a good first step towards the hard-working employees of this city earning a fair and honest wage.”

Council approved it unanimously.