Charleston leaders recently passed an across-the-board pay raise for all city employees, joining other West Virginia municipalities that have given their workers an increase.
The 3 percent raises that went into effect Oct. 7 will boost the paychecks of about 800 city workers. They'll cost about $768,000.
Charleston had been unable to give pay raises the past few years. The raises were the first for Charleston employees since July 1, 2009.
"It's about time," Mayor Danny Jones said when the raises were approved. "We want to make sure our city employees feel appreciated."
So how are other surrounding and comparable towns doing?
Are their budgets healthy enough to provide raises for employees, too?
"Last year was a tough year for the economy everywhere," Lee said. "Everyone got together last year, and we decided the city couldn't afford to give a raise."
However, the approximately 300 city employees received a 2.5 percent pay hike for the current fiscal year, which began on July 1, he said. The total increase in benefits and salaries cost the city $509,516.
One group of South Charleston employees was not included in the pay hike, Lee said.
About 30 firefighters did not receive a raise because the city is in the process of changing their pay scale, he said.
"And the union voted to accept that," Lee said.
Their pay scale will be increased to come in line with what city police officers are being paid, he said.
This has been the first across-the-board raise passed by council in a few years, Mayor Dick Callaway said.
"We've had problems with the local economy for the past few years," Callaway said.
An increase in business and occupation tax on the retail side of the equation has allowed the city to increase salaries for its employees, he said.
"We've had a lot of construction lately, and we're seeing some smaller car lots pop up, too," Callaway said.
He was unsure exactly how many years St. Albans employees had gone without a raise before their most recent bump. He was also unsure exactly how much the most recent raise cost the city.
Callaway was to provide figures on the cost to the Daily Mail but did not return calls on the matter.
About 250 city employees saw a bump in their paychecks.
Workers with the city's Utility Board, Parking Authority and Board of Parks and Recreation Commission also received 2 percent raises. Those agencies funded their increases out of their own budgets, Moore said.