Mobile Food Vendors Speak Against Possible New Ordinance At Broken Bow City Council Meeting

BROKEN BOW— It was a packed house at the Broken Bow City Council meeting on Tuesday, May 28 as the public voiced their opinions on the possible new ordinance concerning mobile food vendors. At the previous meeting, those that spoke gave their opinions that mobile food vendors, especially those in the square, take away business from local restaurants. It was also discussed that the $125 fee for mobile food vendors was not high enough.

At the latest meeting however, mobile vendors spoke against the new ordinance saying that if the current version of the ordinance was passed it would be the most restrictive in the area.

Tim Freburg, who operates a food truck in multiple locations including Kearney, Holdrege, Gothenburg, and Broken Bow, told the board that this ordinance would be the most restrictive of any of the locations if it were to pass. Freburg, who lives in Gothenburg, referenced Cozad when talking about towns being restrictive with food trucks and the decisions each vendor has to make when going to an event or festival.

He talked about as a food vendor a decision has to be made on if you will pay the “restrictive fee” and take a chance that you may not make any money or decide to travel to a town with fewer restrictions. Freburg also talked about how Kearney used to be very restrictive with fees and now requires very little of the vendors.

“We really love small towns. We don’t think that cities like Kearney, Grand Island, North Platte, wherever it might be, need any more advantages when it comes to events, festivals, things like this that bring in food trucks that create that community spirit. I really think [this ordinance] puts Broken Bow at a disadvantage if it were to pass,” said Freburg.

Joyce Richardson also stepped to the podium to discuss some of the problems that she found in the ordinance including some of the fees, parking times, background checks, and others issues. Richardson also asked what brought the board to create this possible ordinance. President Rod Sonnichsen addressed the questioning saying that the issue began with parking and the length of time vehicles were parked at the square. According to Sonnichsen, it eventually funneled down to food vendors using the parking and the large amount of time the vendors sat parked at the square.

Richardson noted that while that could be an issue, dealing with the parking would be more understandable than creating an entire ordinance for one small problem.

“Let’s not do a knee jerk reaction. Take more time massaging this and looking at different situations and maybe if a situation can be dealt with, but not a whole ordinance made to deal with one small problem whatever it might be,” said Richardson.

Discussions will continue at the next City Council Meeting where it is possible the board could vote to approve the ordinance.

Only one other ordinance was passed concerning public participation on agenda items. The amendment was taken from the state level where speakers only have five minutes to address an issue and questions can be rejected by the Mayor if he sees fit. This does not apply to public hearings, but concerns agenda items where a public hearing may not appropriate.

The next Broken Bow City Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 11 at 6 PM at the Broken Bow Public Library.