PRINCE WILLIAM, Va. (DC News Now) — Prince William County’s firefighter union is pushing for a greater pay increase, as the county enters its final two weeks before it approves the FY24 budget.

Right now, the county is proposing a 6.8% market rate increase, on top of a 3% step increase. Prince William Professional Firefighters said that number is based on a flawed compensation study, which focuses on comparing salaries rather than hourly wages — an important distinction because Mitch Nason, the president of the union, says the employees work tons of overtime.

At a budget public hearing on Tuesday night, at least one member of the board expressed a desire to explore increasing the size of the pay raise.

“I think at this time we have a real discussion about what those numbers look like and what we can do for those employees, not because they asked but actually because we need to be competitive,” said Supervisor Margaret Franklin.

Each additional 1% added to the increase is $819k, according to the county.

“It’s their job to be stewards of that money, but if that number doesn’t get closer to 20 [percent] it’s not going to do what’s anticipated and that’s recruit and retain quality firefighters and paramedics in Prince William County,” Nason said.