The Republican mayor of a Bergen County town -- who has been criticized for repeatedly using a hidden panic button to summon local police to town council meetings -- sent a $2,500 bill for police overtime to a resident who organized a local Black Lives Matter protest in July.

Englewood Cliffs Mayor Mario Kranjac sent a letter to the organizer, local resident Emily Gil, requesting $2,499.26 “for the police overtime caused by your protest,” according to news reports. His letter also advised her to volunteer for a local food bank.

“As with any privately-sponsored event that takes place in the borough requiring police safety, an invoice was sent to the organizer for police overtime since it would be unfair to require our residents to financially support a private event,” Kranjac told Friday.

(Update: Kranjac rescinded the bill Saturday afternoon, according to news reports. "I was told that all private events requiring police overtime should be paid for by the organizers. It was never intended as a fine, but rather as a fee," he said in a statement. "I have researched the issue further with my own counsel and I am hereby rescinding the bill, subject to our Council's ratification of my action." I always want to make certain that everyone's Constitutional Rights are fully respected. We will have to adjust the Borough's ordinances accordingly.")

Gil, 18, told WABC-TV that she had informed the town about her plans for the July 25th event but did not request police presence.

"He sort of imposed a police presence on the protest," she told WABC-TV. "He said, 'So now that you've alerted me that this is going on, I'm going to have to send the police to you.' So it wasn't something that I specifically requested. It was something that he imposed on me."

Her protest had about 30 to 40 attendees who “caused no disturbances and picked up their own trash,” said Gil, adding that she believes she was targeted because she’s criticized the town over its affordable housing policies.

The ACLU chapter in New Jersey called Kranjac’s move “not smart.”

“People have the right to speak freely. Towns can’t charge protesters for police or insurance for exercising their constitutional rights,” the advocacy group said in a tweet.

"I've been consistent throughout," Kranjac said to WABC-TV. "If anyone does an event in town, we bill them."

The Democratic members of the Englewood Cliffs Town Council said they will seek to cancel the bill and are calling on Kranjac to publicly apologize, WABC-TV reported. Democratic state lawmakers also issued a statement saying they were “outraged” and that students “like Emily Gil should be celebrated and not be threatened with a bill for $2,500 by her own local community for speaking out against racism and bigotry.”

Kranjac has used an emergency button under the town council’s dais to summon police at least eight times to town council meetings in a year-long stretch from January 2018-January 2019, reported.

“Police Capt. Brian Murphy was one of five officers who responded when the button was pressed last month during a raucous organization meeting where residents were speaking out of turn. Just like a 911 call, the button brings officers in off the road,” according to the report. “In front of the crowd, the officer addressed Kranjac: ‘My concern is my men coming in here for emergencies,” Murphy said. “That button is used for emergency purposes. You have been told numerous times.’ Kranjac, however, called Murphy insubordinate before the officers were all ushered out of the room.”

“They view it as an emergency button. I view it as a call button," Kranjac told "We didn’t have an officer there, so you wanted to call an officer in, you just hit the button.”

Kranjac then ordered the police department to deploy a standing police officer at all council meetings, and acknowledged he has no idea “how they are accounting for it.”

His fondness for the panic button has annoyed the Englewood Cliffs Police Department, reported. According to records released in 2017, police Lt. David Hill called him “this [expletive] idiot.”

“The mayor. This [expletive] idiot. He hit the [expletive] thing,” Hill said in the records. “Does he realize that when nobody’s here I’ve got to call a guy in from the road who is coming in now thinking there’s a problem here?”