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Mayor vetoes part of food truck ordinance

The journey of food trucks into downtown Rochester hit a slight detour after part of a proposed new ordinance was vetoed by Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede.

Brede vetoed the portion that would have trucks and trailers pay on a tiered fee system, which he said would be "unfair" for some of the small businesses in town.

"It's a fairness issue," he said. 'We got people starting businesses that are just as strapped initially. We don't make adjustments on their taxes. They pay the full amount, and they don't get a break. Why don't we do this for any new business or restaurant coming into town? That's the part I vetoed."

Council member Nick Campion introduced the tiered fee system that would essentially allow mobile food unit owners to pay lower fees in their first two years of business.

The council had considered a yearly $150 licensing fee and $1,350 franchise fee for food truck owners. On a tiered system, reductions for the franchise fee would be $750 during the first year of a truck and trailer's operation, making the total cost $900.


Then, the fee would increase to $1,100 during the second year, and for the following years, the owner would pay $1,500 — a combination of the annual $150 licensing fee and a $1,350 franchising fee.

Campion said he was disappointed in Brede's veto. He believes food trucks and restaurants aren't comparable in this case.

"It is a reasonable line of thinking," Campion said. "However, it's a little bit like 'apples and oranges.' Can you directly compare a food truck to a restaurant? Some think you can, and some think you can't."

Campion also was frustrated that there was "little warning" for the veto. He wishes that objections were laid out in front.

"Many people observed the council who fought through this trying to build a system that was equitable," Campion explained. "It's certainly dismaying having to go back and take a look at this and possibly reworking this legislation. There's probably good reason, and the mayor will probably be sharing his reasoning moving forward."

But Brede said he initially planned to accept the rule but decided on the veto after mulling it over.

"I support food trucks and want them in town," he said. "I would've voiced my opinion that I just don't like it. We're not being fair. That's not the way we're doing for any other new business. ... It's a fairness issue."

Both Brede and Campion don't anticipate the timeline to be extended further than anticipated. The new regulations were supposed to go into effect on June 12 or sooner depending on what the council decides.


Overriding Brede's veto requires at least five votes; the previous resolution was passed 5-2.

"The council invested a lot of time trying to get this as reasonably set as possible, until now, it's coming back," he said. "I hope that this doesn't delay the window anymore."

Campion said he would try to have a discussion with Brede before the council meeting to discuss the process that went into the veto.

"We just need to see what the alternate proposal would be," he said. "I'm a person that looks for compromise where it serves the community. If there is an alternate plan to better serve the community plan, then I'm going to listen. I want to move forward in getting these businesses on the streets this summer."

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