HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – After losing City of Hot Springs employees to other cities the Hot Springs Board of Directors voted this week to pass a resolution for a city-wide wage increase.

For the Hot Springs Fire Department, they got an additional increase on top of that city wide up in pay.

The board of directors thought this increase was necessary after seeing how some employees were easily recruited to work in other places.

When looking at money, Hot Springs has the city wellness fund, which had enough to supplement the raise, and they hope this will encourage everyone to stay in Hot Springs.

City Director for District 4, Dudley Webb, III, says he hopes this will help fix a problem they’ve continued to see overtime.

“We’re sending a message to the employees who work for the city of Hot Springs, we’re saying we want you to stay here,” Webb said.

One of the board’s goals going into 2024 was to address compensation wages for all of its city employees.

They noticed that police officers and firefighters were being recruited out of Hot Springs. This along with other reasons led them to have a study done comparing wages of their employees against those in cities of a similar size.

“That study was to determine if we needed to update any job descriptions, if we needed to update any qualifications for jobs, and then where does the city sit in terms of it compensation for every employee in every department,” Webb said.

It ultimately found an increase was needed, and the city had the funds to do it.

Police wages were increased in May, after seeing issues with recruitment and retention. But Webb and other directors thought it was time for a raise across the board.

“It actually enabled to give an average 8.5 increase for employees who work for the city of Hot Springs, all employees in all department,” Webb said.

The study specifically found that fire could use a 7.5% increase. But after increasing police, they voted to increase fire even more to a 10.5% increase, hoping to prevent losing firefighters to other cities.

“We want firefighters and police officers, and all city employees who work for the city of Hot Springs to stay here,” Webb said.

Webb said that they’re proud of the increases for every city employee, and the focus put on public safety, but keeping the city going takes a team.

“It takes everybody working together to make our city run as good as its running,” Webb said.

Hot Springs Fire Chief Ed Davis sent a statement regarding wages:

“The 10.5 % Firefighter pay increase allocated in 2024 Budget by the Board of Directors and City Manager was a compassionate business decision. It made Firefighter base pay more competitive with our surrounding sister cities and increased the quality of life for the Fire Departments Drivers and Officers. I appreciate the diplomacy displayed by the City Manager and the Firefighters during this budgetary process. We value, respect and appreciate the favor the City Board of Directors has shown the Fire Department during the formation of the 2024 Budget.”

The wage increase will take effect January 1, 2024.