CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Charleston City Council on Wednesday discussed raising minimum wage for city workers to $15 per hour.

The proposal was brought up during the Human Resources Committee meeting. Leaders also discussed staffing and how wages impact vacancies across the city.

Data presented in the meeting showed that no department is fully staffed. There are about 39 open positions in the police department, 28 open positions in the fire department, and 283 open positions for non-sworn employees.

City firefighters have long been fighting for higher pay, claiming they can’t even afford the cost of living in the city that they risk their lives to serve.

Officials acknowledged that exit surveys show that pay is one of the main reasons employees cite for leaving. They hope that by adjusting the starting pay across the board, they will be able to both recruit and retain more employees.

The proposal increases hourly starting pay for non-sworn employees from $14.00 to $15.00. Pay for police and fire would increase by roughly $2 per step.

While council acknowledged that the increases will not fix everything, they believe it’s a step in the right direction.

The proposal will be discussed at the next City Council meeting.