City introduces food truck law

Published 5:56 am Friday, February 10, 2017

Food trucks may be coming to Bogalusa soon, if the Bogalusa City Council ends up passing an ordinance that was introduced during Tuesday’s council meeting.

The proposed law would modify the city’s code to provide for the operation of a food truck within the city of Bogalusa. It would require the truck’s owner to be licensed, registered and insured, as well as permitted by the State Department of Health and Hospitals for food sales.

The food truck owner would also pay a city permit fee of $750, which would be renewed annually. No mobile food truck can exceed 26 feet in length or 8 feet in width, and only two-axle, self-propelled vehicles could qualify for the permit — pull-behind trailers would not qualify.

Under the ordinance, there would be a limit of eight trucks permitted per year, and they can not park on city property or public rights of way when open for service. They may only park on private properties with the expressed permission of all property owners.

The ordinance spells out many other regulations, but among them are the requirements that food trucks cannot operate less than 500 feet from any existing restaurant or café, and cannot park within two blocks of any school that is in session.

The proposed ordinance will be open to public discussion at the next city council meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 5:30 p.m. The council is also expected to vote on the ordinance at that meeting.

In other business, the council:

  • Introduced four other ordinances. First was an ordinance authorizing the mayor to enter into a contract by and between the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections and the city of Bogalusa. Bogalusa City Council member Doug Ritchie said the ordinance is in relation to the work crews the city has through the Rayburn Correctional Center, and will be discussed at the Feb. 21 meeting.

Second was an ordinance granting Center Point Energy the right to construct facilities for the transportation, distribution and sale of gas in the municipality. Third was an ordinance authorizing the mayor to enter into a Solid Waste Collection and Transportation Agreement with Progressive Waste Connections. Fourth was an ordinance pertaining to underground burials and depth in the Bogalusa and Ponemah cemeteries.

All of these ordinances will be open for public input and voted upon at the Feb. 21 meeting.

  • Adopted a resolution expressing the intent of the city to advertise a project for bids for the 2016 Louisiana Community Development Program. This is related to the water system improvements project in Richardson Town.
  • Adopted an ordinance approving the 1-percent sales tax in Bogalusa. This tax was approved during November’s election and is a renewal of an already-existing tax. Bogalusa Mayor Wendy Perrette said it has been renewed every time since its inception in 1982, and it has never increased. The money is used in the city’s general fund.
  • Adopted an ordinance approving for the city to apply for a $950,000 Revenue Anticipation Note from the State Bond Commission. This is a normal procedure for cities in Louisiana. Because property taxes are not paid until the end of the year, this money will allow the city funds to operate until those property tax receipts come in. The note is then repaid once the property tax receipts are received.

Perrette said that the city was able to repay last year’s note one week early, and expressed her appreciation.

All ordinances passed unanimously, except for the Revenue Anticipation Note ordinance. City council member Gloria Kates abstained from that vote. City council member Teddy Drummond was not in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting.

  • Heard from Angela Lambert, Jennifer Mizell and Michael Norman, on behalf of the Our Lady of the Angels Hospital “Family Fest” and Bogalusa Farmers’ Market that will be open Saturday, April 1.

Lambert, director of communications for the hospital, said that citizens would be able to use government-assistance/EBT cards at the farmers’ market. In addition, grants may be available that will allow EBT card holders to double their purchasing power — for example, if they purchase $20 worth of fresh vegetables off their card account, they will actually be able to buy $40 worth.

The farmers’ market will continue every Saturday after April 1, at Goodyear Park.

  • Heard from council president Tamira Smith, who noted that the Bogalusa Cemetery will maintain its current name, but will get a new sign. There had been a push to name the cemetery after a historic citizen, but it was determined that “Bogalusa Cemetery” is a historic name in itself and should remain in place, Smith said.
  • Heard from Kates, who read a card from the DEFY Youth Group thanking the city for passing its smoke-free ordinance. Kates also said that several concerned citizens recently met at Bogalusa City Hall to discuss the ordinance, and the meeting was fruitful. She suggested that the ordinance may be modified in the future, as a result of these discussions.