Atlanta Fire Rescue Department personnel will get pay raises in a $15.6 million plan announced Dec. 11 by Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, a response to concerns about hiring and retention.

The raises will be spread over the next three-and-half years, according to a city press release. The city press office says that, in combination with 3.1% raises from the last two budgets, the total will amount to a 25% increase in base pay for firefighters.

The money will come from “a combination of budget reprioritization, re-purposing of one-time items and baseline revenues,” the press release said. The raises will appear in paychecks Jan. 31, backdated to Jan. 1.

The effort followed a study commissioned by the Atlanta Fire Rescue Foundation and concerns that other nearby departments were offering better pay.

“As first responders, Atlanta’s firefighters are on the front lines of danger each and every day,” Bottoms said in the press release. “When an independent study confirmed they were underpaid, it was this administration’s duty to respond in the urgent and meaningful manner they deserve. With this significant investment, our compensation will be competitive to support and enhance AFRD’s recruitment and retention rates.”

Department Chief Randall Slaughter in the press release praised the move as a “historic day.”

The Fire Rescue pay increase follows a similar plan to boost Atlanta Police Department pay, which Bottoms announced last year. Maj. Andrew Senzer, commander of Buckhead’s Zone 2 police precinct, recently said that that raise is helping to fill the local ranks.

Bottoms and Slaughter were in Buckhead last month for the Fire Rescue Foundation’s annual “Breakfast with the Bravest” awards ceremony.