Monroe Council Approves Mobile Food Vendors

MONROE, LA (AP) — The Monroe City Council has approved a controversial ordinance that would allow mobile food vendors to operate within the city.

         The News-Star’s Kaleb Causey reports the council voted 3-1 Tuesday night to approve the ordinance.

         The ordinance, written by council Chairman Ray Armstrong, is similar to one introduced earlier this year that failed to pass after citizens and Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo expressed their grievances.

         Armstrong, Betty Blakes and Gretchen Ezernack all supported the ordinance, while Kenneth Wilson voted no. Eddie Clark was did not attend the meeting.

         "I'm very pleased to see it pass," Armstrong said. "I think it'll be a wonderful thing for the city of Monroe to see opportunities for the enjoyment of life and to create some excitement."

         Wilson said he is concerned about the city's Tax and Revenue Division being able to regulate the vendors and their specific zones.

         "I don't think (tax and revenue has) the manpower to regulate those trucks all over the city," he said. "I'd like to actually have the zone to the downtown RiverMarket and construction sites, and not just running all over town, parking across the street from another business."

         He also said he voted the way his constituents wanted him to.

         "I represent the mom and pop businesses," Wilson said. "The people in my district who elected me stand against it, so they asked me to consider not to vote for it."

         D.J. Fortenberry, owner of Pickle Barrel, said he supports the ordinance because it allows other people to chase their dreams like he did when he purchased Pickle Barrel three years ago.

         "I feel that if we do not have food trucks in this town, it would be like someone three years ago telling me I cannot fulfill my dream," he said. "It would be a travesty if we did not pass this food truck (ordinance). Who are we to tell someone they can't fulfill their dream?"

         Mayo said back in the spring that he would have vetoed the ordinance that was on the agenda at that time, had it passed, but he has yet to make a decision on the current ordinance.

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