The City of Charleston is looking to establish a minimum wage of $15 an hour within the city along with a one-time bonus for workers across the city.

City Council will consider the changes during a Ways and Means Committee meeting Tuesday. If approved, the bonuses would be paid from funds the city was previously expecting to spend in 2021.

“And as we found out we had a little better year last year than we had thought we would,” says City of Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg. “It’s time even though it’s mid-year to go ahead and raise those minimum salaries.”

The one-time bonuses for city employees would grant $1250 to full-time employees and $625 to part-time employees working for the city. If approved the funding would come from $3.7 million of unexpected revenue in 2021.

“We added to that minimum raise, also a bonus for all of our employees and I think it’s the right thing,” says Mayor Tecklenburg. “They’ve been working so hard and we need to compensate fairly.”

The second proposal is to raise the minimum wage. If approved it would impact about 450 of the city’s 1600 employees. Mayor Tecklenburg says it should be about a 10% difference for those making less than $15.

Bill Pesature, Vice President of the Professional Fire Fighters’ Association of South Carolina says it’s a step but believes city workers, including firefighters, could benefit from further improvements to salary.

“Raising the salaries to retain the people so they can stay there for their career,” says Pesature.

Pesature, a retired firefighter, is hoping representatives can sit down with city leaders to discuss more increases to pay and salary in the future.

“We’ve openly told them that you know please invite us, get us in the door and we’d love to come in and have a sit down with the mayor,” says Pesature.

Mayor Tecklenburg says the city’s sworn employees and first responders rank competitively across the state. Regardless, he hopes more will be done to raise employee salaries in the future.

“And we need to fairly compensate our employees and we’ve been working on that but this is an important step,” says Mayor Tecklenburg.

City Council’s Ways and Means Committee meeting will take place Tuesday afternoon in City Hall Council Chambers starting at 4 pm. A regularly scheduled city council meeting will take place after the committee meeting.