Brownwood City Council members approved a two-year Meet and Confer agreement Tuesday between the city and the Brownwood Professional Firefighters Association that gives its members a 3 percent pay raise the same amount that other city employees are projected to receive in the 2012-'13 budget.

The current Meet and Confer agreement, now in its third and final year, expires Sept. 30. The agreement had given firefighters raises of 6 percent a year for three years.

Terms of the new agreement, according to a council agenda item briefing sheet, include:

The terms of the agreement is from Oct. 1, 2012 to Sept. 30, 2014.

Firefighters will see a base salary increase of 3 percent in their Oct. 1 paychecks. If all city employees receive an across-the-board pay increase for fiscal year 2013-'14, firefighters will receive an equivalent increase in base salary. The association agrees not to petition to increase salary during the term of the agreement.

A background investigation will be conducted on each applicant for a beginning position before the applicant takes the tests. If the applicant fails the background test, he will not be allowed to test. Currently, background tests are completed after tests are completed.

A five-member New Hire Board will be created. The board will interview applicants who pass the written test. Score totals from the written, oral and physical agility tests will determine pass/fail and rank on the eligibility list.

A six-month probationary period will be established for firefighters promoted to a higher rank.

If the city can't meet its funding obligations and after "exhausting all reasonably available recurring revenue," and the city has a "significant reduction in revenue," the agreement will be terminated.

A new Meet and Confer agreement between the city and the Brownwood Municipal Police Association is pending.