DALLAS (AP) — Dallas will pay nearly $62 million to settle a back pay dispute with police and firefighters in a salary issue related to a 1979 decision by voters.

The Dallas City Council on Tuesday agreed to settle four lawsuits linked to pay for hundreds of first responders.

The $61.7 million settlement resolves some lawsuits filed in the 1990s. Two lawsuits remain.

A referendum approved in 1979 gave police and firefighters a raise. The language referred to a pay differential for various ranks that was to be maintained.

Emergency responders said the differential was to be maintained forever. City attorneys said the differential was only for that year.

Mayor Mike Rawlings said Tuesday that Dallas did nothing wrong and they're doing what the referendum said the city would do.

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