DONALDSONVILLE — With City Council backing, full-time city employees are getting their first pay raise in five years.

Workers will receive a 3.5 percent across-the-board raise, with the remaining pay boosts awarded based on merit at Mayor Leroy Sullivan Sr.’s discretion, officials said.

Funding for the $74,530 in raises will come from three city operating funds: $53,667 from the Natural Gas Department, $19,343 from the general fund and $1,520 from the Sewer Department, officials said.

The move follows discussions in recent months over how to distribute a proposed pay increase.

In a September council meeting, Finance Director Sandra Williams originally presented a plan that would have given each employee a $1 per hour pay raise, at a cost of $74,530.

At that meeting, Councilman Charles Brown Sr. said he thought the proposal was unfair and that some employees deserved more of a raise, based on their respective efforts.

The council backed the raises Tuesday night as part of a budget amendment adopted during the council’s first regular meeting of the year.

Councilman Emile Spano stressed during the meeting that neither the mayor nor City Council members are included in the raises.

The raises take effect once the budget amendment ordinance is officially published, Council Chairman Raymond Aucoin said.

Other issues coming before the council included:

CHRISTMAS PARADE:Councilmen discussed a fight that broke out during a Christmas parade held last month and how best to prevent similar conflicts.

Spano said that the fight broke out in Louisiana Square near the spot where he was watching the parade.

“It was disturbing to see something like that take place,” Spano said. “What concerned me more than anything was seeing the parents grab their children and vacate. This really scared the people out there.”

Ascension Parish sheriff’s deputies who responded quickly arrested four people, sheriff’s Capt. Dean Werner told the council. Two of those arrested were from out of town, he added.

Some councilmen suggested that legislation is needed to impose tougher penalties to deter such behavior in Donaldsonville.

“You’re always going to have a few knuckleheads out there and step on somebody’s toes,” Councilman Brown said. “I don’t know what you can do to prevent it, but you can make the consequences a lot greater for those who get in a fight.”