Brownstown proposes mobile food vendor fee



As mobile food vendors continue to roll into Brownstown, the town council has suggested charging a fee for them to set up shop.

The main purpose behind the move is to give residents assurance the vendors are abiding by health and safety guidelines.

“I think it’s important that we’re making sure that we do our due diligence in the people that are selling food in our town, including health departments and things that are important,” Councilwoman Sharon Koch said after President Gregg Goshorn asked if the council should explore establishing a mobile food vendor fee.

Goshorn then asked what the fee should be. Councilman Tim Robinson suggested $150 since that’s what Seymour charges.

“While we’re smaller (population-wise), we still have to do the same work that they would have to do to check proof of insurance, certificates and inspections,” Robinson said.

Goshorn also asked if there should be set hours for food trucks to set up.

Councilman Mark Reynolds said it would be best to keep everything as simple as possible.

“If we go trying to put hours on it, who’s going to police the hours?” Reynolds asked. “If someone works a half-hour over, we said you’re supposed to be shut down at 9 o’clock and it’s 9:30, who’s going to (enforce that)?”

If the mobile food vendor fee is approved, Koch suggested making the permit a bright color that can be displayed in a window so police can see it and know they have been approved.

The council also discussed potential violations of an ordinance if it was to pass.

Koch said it might be good to start off with a warning on the first offense. Then the vendor would know they need to go to the town hall to get a permit to set up in the future.

“Our first offense being $0 could last for one calendar year. Then everyone should know that we are now requiring permits,” she said. “I don’t want to burn people at the beginning. We’re just new to this.”

Robinson, however, said the first offense should be above $150, while Councilwoman Crystal Stuckwisch said the town should increase the violation on second and third offenses.

Goshorn said he would share all of the information discussed during the meeting with town attorney Travis Thompson to draft an ordinance. It would require approval of three readings before going into effect.

During a council meeting in February, Thompson told the council that the town can require a permit for food trucks for health and safety reasons, but it can’t do anything to control commerce, such as limiting the number of food trucks and when they can set up.

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The Brownstown Town Council meets at 6 p.m. on the first and third Mondays of each month at the town hall, 116 E. Cross St., Brownstown. If a meeting date falls on a holiday, it’s moved to the next day.

Meetings are open to the public and press. Attendees must wear a mask.


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