FREEPORT, Fla. (WMBB) – Freeport city employees are receiving a two-tiered raise in the coming months.

Freeport City Council members voted unanimously to raise wages by 8% starting June 4 and then another 7.38% on October 1 for a total 15.38% raise.

“We felt like our employees have all earned it,” Freeport City Manager Charlie Simmons said. “We feel like we are trying to make it where people, in general, want to work for the city of Freeport or work for county government in general.”

The pay increase will take the starting wage from $13 per hour to $15 per hour.

City employees said this has been quite the morale booster and much-needed relief in the face of rising inflation.

“Everything has gone up and a lot of our employees travel to work so the gas has gone up, cost of living has gone up, everything has gone up,” Freeport Billing Supervisor Lourdes Johnson said. “It’s going to help a lot, especially for those families that are just trying to make it week by week.”

Walton County Chamber of Commerce Chairman Nathan Cordle said it is important for cities in the county to remain competitive in the job market.

“The public sector is starting to mirror the private sector and its just proof that counties and cities across the state of Florida and across the country are having to do these merit increases, do these pay increases, do the cost of living increases to keep and retain employees but also to remain competitive with private employers and private sector companies,” Cordle said.

Simmons said there are two positions not included in the raises, which are city manager and plant operator supervisor.