Doubts expressed about regulating food trucks, before Beatrice City Council
BEATRICE – The City of Beatrice will work to pare down regulations governing food trucks, after getting an earful from citizens Monday night….one questioning the motive for the rules.
Attorney Jim Nelson represents Jeremy Snyder, who operates a popular red food bus in the community.
"If it's public safety and it doesn't apply to every food establishment, then I would submit to you that it's really not public safety you're involved in. Which gets me to the next one. Is the real reason to raise revenue for the operational budget of the City of Beatrice? You already have two sources of revenue from food trucks.....sales tax, and personal property tax."
Nelson objected to regulations on food trucks operating on private property. He also criticized proposed distance regulations of the trucks from restaurants and questioned requiring liability insurance.
Nelson said the main objective should be consistency. He pointed to other things that would be exempt.
"If it is to raise revenue, how come you just don't apply it straight across the board? What's so special about farmer's market? What's so special about Ribfest? What's so special about the vendors at the swap meet and flea market at Homestead Days?"
City Councilman Tim Fralin is wary of a layer of local regulations on food trucks. "They're already regulated from the state. This is twelve pages of micromanagement, in my opinion." Councilman Gary Barnard wondered if it’s just the wrong time to put in place such regulations. Mayor Stan Wirth said Monday night was intended for more discussion on the issue.
Wendy Jurgens, who co-owns a food truck, said such businesses already pay a fee to the state, to operate.
"What happened that this conversation is coming about? From my point of view, it's been a good thing for the City of Beatrice. Stone Hollow(Brewery)...I will point them out. They're a good business, they pay their taxes and they bring extra people into their business by having food trucks down there. It's never gotten rowdy, people are so nice, it brings extra revenue into the City of Beatrice."
Mayor Wirth tried to assure those concerned about a regulatory burden that there is no drive to push out food trucks.
"None of us around this table are opposed to food trucks. So, I think there's a misconception that we're trying to stop them, we're trying to impose strict regulations that will keep them out....nothing could be further from the truth. That's why we're having this discussion. We started it two weeks ago and are continuing it tonight. If the council decides that they don't want to have any regulations, whatsoever, then that's what we'll decide."
No action yet, on any set of rules.