DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Durham City Council voted on Tuesday night to approve its budget plan for next year.
Notably, the $610 million budget does not include a property tax increase, keeping the rate at 55.77 cents per $100 valuation.
The budget, which grew 6.59% from last year's, expands public safety, transportation support and enhanced and equitable green spaces as well as increases for employee compensation.
This has been a hot-button issue for Durham firefighters, who have been steadfastly asking for a liveable wage.
As they have been in the past, firefighters were at Tuesday night's council meeting asking for a pay raise.
"I was born and raised in the City of Durham ... If we continue to lag behind in pay ... will have to consider moving to other departments so we can take care of our families," one firefighter said.
The council did approve a 2% pay structure adjustment for police and firefighters along with a 5% pay-for-performance merit system increase and an end-of-year appreciation bonus of $300.
Funding is also included for 16 new firefighter positions and one new fire inspector position in the Durham Fire Department as well as more than $3.6 million to purchase two new ladder trucks to support growth needs in the northern and eastern areas. The department will also receive $4.6 million to replace self-contained breathing apparatuses.