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Fly on the Wall at Econ Dev Committee Meeting Last Night

by on March 27th, 2013

Some interesting updates to the contentious food cart issue happened last night at the Economic Development Committee and Joint Finance Council Meeting.

First Jim Brezinski tried to delay the vending ordinance issue that was on the agenda until next month. Lisa Rasmussen stated that she thought they should at least discuss it because of all the people that showed up at the meeting. Jim said it wasn’t about the people that showed up it was about the people that weren’t there. Since only vendors showed up I assume he was talking about restaurants and MSW. Lisa insisted they at least address the issue but not get into the details of the proposed ordinance. Finally Jim agreed.

Lisa spoke about the fact that the only people that weren’t involved in the writing of the ordinance at all were the people it affected the most, the vendors. She did bring up parts of the ordinance such as the fact that if you were to place 4 stationary vendors on 3rd street across from the Mint it not only created a new food court which would be in direct competition with the mall food court but also in constant competition with the Mint and Townies. If the vendors were allowed to be mobile they would only create competition for small amounts of time spread out through the day.

She also gave a rundown of how the ordinance had gotten to the point it is now. An internal group of staff and Romey Wagner as a committee representative wrote the 1st draft. When the 2nd draft surfaced and nothing had changed, she decided she would recommend the formation of a sub committee or task force. The mayor asked Lisa to clarify which she was suggesting since a sub committee would only include council members but a task force would include members from all groups concerned. Jim and Lisa both agreed that a task force was the best way to go.

Keene Winters stated he would like to see no ordinance for the time being since there is only one vending cart in operation and to see what happens. If more vendors appear and problems arise they would be addressed then. No one liked that. Romey stated he has 3 vendors he is working with just waiting to find out what the ordinance will be like before they go forward with their plans. Everyone agreed a task force chosen by the Mayor would be best.

Thoughts?

Ed. note: Thanks to Karla Van Wagner for this report!

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