City wants new hires to live in Wildwood

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WILDWOOD — Want a job with this city? You’ll have to live here too.

That’s the new job requirement that the City Commission was expected to introduce yesterday.

The measure would create a sense of unity in the community, said Mayor Ernie Troiano Jr. The thinking is that city employee’s salaries are funded by Wildwood taxpayers, so they should also pay Wildwood taxes.

“If they take tax dollars because they are working here, then they should live here too,” Troiano said. “That way they have a stake in the community they work in.”

In May, Gov. Chris Christie signed a new law requiring all future New Jersey’s public employees to live in the state as a condition of employment. The bill makes New Jersey the first in the country to take public employee residency requirements to this level, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Troiano said he wanted Wildwood to follow that example.

“For years we were told that you can’t force anyone to live and work in the same place,” he said. “But with that changing, we can do something to help make the community whole.”

Troiano said the new residency rules would apply to new hires. Current employees would be grandfathered in.

He added that there is still some work that needs to be done on the ordinance before it goes to the public for a hearing and a final vote.

Questions remains he said on how long employees will be required to move to Wildwood and on the flexibility of the residency rules.

Troiano used the example of someone that had been living in North Wildwood, Wildwood Crest or West Wildwood qualifying for a city job.

“If they are already established living on the island, then at least they would have a stake in what goes on in their neighboring communities,” he said. “But if someone wanted a job and they only wanted to move to North Wildwood or the Crest because they didn’t want to live Wildwood, then I don’t think we could be flexible.”

Despite the remaining questions, Troiano said, that he wanted to “get moving” on the ordinance as soon as possible.

“We can fine tune things after the first reading,” he said. “But if we don’t move forward with this I’m concerned that it will get stuck in the revision process before it ever sees a first reading.”

 

Lauren Suit can be e-mailed at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or you can comment on this story by calling 624-8900, ext 250.

 


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