FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Three Rivers Ambulance Authority has made large efforts recently to offer better benefits and wages to their employees but now officials are worried that they may not be able to keep up with the growing job market.

Local county fire departments are hiring across the region and they’re offering a bit more than what TRAA can keep up with.

A little over a year ago, TRAA bumped their starting wages by 30% which equates to a $5 raise for paramedics and EMTs, bringing their salaries up to $24 an hour and $19 an hour, respectively.

Although the decision fulfilled Executive Director Joel Benz’s vision, it also left TRAA with a new problem.

Coming into this year, they were expecting to be operating at a nearly 2-million-dollar deficit.

The city council offered TRAA 3 million dollars to help them out of the hole that up until recently they hadn’t touched…until now.

Benz stated, “…because the county fire districts around us are starting to hire now, we felt like we needed to offer a retention bonus and we really didn’t feel like we had the capability to do that without tapping into those city funds.”

He also stated that they didn’t want to lose all the progress they made.

The bonus was $25,000 for paramedics and $8,000 for EMTs.