City council approves new food truck fees

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 14, 2022

The contentious issue of food truck inspections was back before Ironton City Council on Thursday, this time with more options for vendors.

In January, the city council passed an ordinance that required food trucks to pay a $50 application fee and a $250 fire inspection fee. Under the new ordinance, the cost of the inspection is based on the number of days the vendor wants a license. An inspection good for one year is $200, for 14 days of operation is $120, for three days is $50 and for one day, it is $20.

Councilman Craig Harvey said that the new, lower costs “sprung out of a really good” meeting with vendors and event planners.

Email newsletter signup

“We had really good, lengthy discussions,” he said, adding that the costs more fairly address the concerns council had. “We were trying to get a handle on something that was happening in our community and we didn’t consider how it would affect events.”

At an April 14 meeting, several food truck owners and an event organizer spoke against the ordinance saying that it would be difficult for vendors to make a profit after paying $300 in fees and that it would make it less likely that vendors would bother to set up at events in Ironton and make events less attractive for people to attend.

Council members said the fees were necessary to make sure the food trucks were up to code and safe, and for fairness to brick and mortar restaurants that pay taxes that help fund things like the fire department.

Councilman Mike Pierce said that he had checked how much other cities charge mobile food vendors and that it was “all over the place, from some cities that charged $100 for a year to some cities that charged $50 a day.”

“We wanted to figure out a way to make it fair and equitable,” he said, adding that the real concern was that vendor trucks underwent health inspections and to prevent fires.

As before, the food trucks will have to have the food truck inspected by the health department and get a sticker stating it has passed inspection. The fire inspection will be done by the Ironton fire department chief or a designee and the truck must meet standards set by the Ohio Revised Code.

The council also adopted the Ohio Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan so that the city complies with the requirements of FEMA and set goals to prevent the loss of life and property in a natural emergency.

The council also passed a resolution setting the salaries of the city’s non-union employees.

Vice Mayor Chris Haney entered into the meeting minutes a letter that he received from citizens concerned about the rehab houses.

During the miscellaneous section of the meeting, Mayor Sam Cramblit said that such houses are regulated under the city’s codified ordinances and that the city makes the houses or centers comply with the law concerning zoning and regulation. He said that if such a facility is cited, the matter goes to court and then it is handled by a judge. If the houses aren’t in compliance, they can be fined up to $10,000 a day.

“We are addressing these as we can,” Cramblit told the council.

The next council meeting will be at 6 p.m. on Monday, May 23. While the council meetings are normally on Thursdays, May 26 is Navy Night, part of the Ironton-Lawrence County Memorial Day Parade events, and per city ordinance, the council meeting is moved so council members and the mayor can attend.

Normally, the Ironton City Council meets on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month at 6 p.m. in the council chambers on the third floor of the Ironton City Center.