VERNON TOWNSHIP - The Vernon Township council voted Monday to give their mayor a raise, but the idea isn't sitting well with some taxpayers. The $40,000 raise will more than double the mayor's salary.
There was no shortage of opinions in the North Jersey town as word spread about Mayor Vic Marotta's new salary. The council adopted an ordinance that will raise it from $30,000 a year to $70,000.
"I think it's ridiculous," says resident Bill O'Neill. "He deserves a little more, but not that much."
The mayor says the salary hike will not mean a tax hike for residents. He says it all evens out, because the new business administrator makes $40,000 less than the previous one.
"The issue is not the taxpayers paying more so the mayor can make more money," Marotta says. "The mayor needs to make a living wage."
It's not the first time this issue has come up in Vernon. In 2012, voters rejected a $20,000 salary increase for the mayor. They now wonder how the council could override the voters.
Marotta still defends the decision. "The ordinance in 2012 had [raises for] the mayor's salary, had raises for the council, and also dealt with salary ranges for 33 employees who are non-union."
The salary increase for the mayor is retroactive back to Jan. 1.
Opponents of the mayor's salary hike are collecting signatures on a petition. If they get the required number, they could block the increase from taking effect and force it to go before voters once again.