ATLANTA - The Atlanta City Council approved a pay raise for city employees Monday.
Channel 2's Tony Thomas was there as the council approved a 3.5 percent raise for most city employees, and a 1.5 percent raise for city police and firefighters.
City workers have spent months demanding a raise. In May, Channel 2 Action News covered a rally held by workers outside City Hall. They wanted at least a 5 percent raise.
Though the council’s raise doesn’t match the group’s request, it is .5 percent more than originally proposed. Mayor Kasim Reed insisted it’s all that he can do at this time.
“I can’t spend money I don’t have and I’m not going to spend money I don’t have,” Reed told Thomas.
Even with the pay raise, members of the firefighter union are not satisfied.
“The average firefighter, they are going up $400 a year. That, times 26 biweekly paychecks, it’s not enough to buy a meal,” Atlanta Firefighters Union President Sgt. Stephen Borders said.
On the individual level, some people claim the pay raise will help.
“It will definitely help make a difference in our family. We live outside the city, and it costs so much to drive in and out and we would love to possibly move back into the city,” Kelly Uhlis, wife of Sgt. Tommy Uhlis, told Thomas.
Despite the disagreement over the amount of the pay raises, everyone is in agreement that this is better than nothing.