FRAMINGHAM – To operate as a food truck in Framingham, required a dupicate of the state process, until late last year.
If you wanted to operate a food truck in the City of Framingham, you needed a state license, then you needed to go through the same process to get a Framingham license.
But last year, the City Council passed an ordinance, that if you have a state license, you just needed to pass a health department review to operate.
But some food truck companies had already paid their fees to the City of Framingham.
To prove that the City of Framingham was “business-friendly” City Councilor Mike Cannon wanted to refund the fees from 2018 to the food truck vendors..
The total cost of the refund would be $1,425.
The economic development subcommittee of the Council was recommending a refund of the fees only after the City Council’s July 2018 vote to change the policy, which would have been a total of $937.
After a brief discussion, the City Council voted 6-4 to refund a total of $1,425 in total fees.
Voting in favor of the $1,425 was District 4 City Council Mike Cannon, Councilor George King, District 8 City Councilor Judy Grove, District 3 City Councilor Adam Steiner, District 7 City Councilor Margareth Shepard, and Councilor Cheryl Tully Stoll.
Voting against the Cannon motion was District 1 City Councilor Charlie Sisitsky, District 2 City Councilor Pam Richardson, District 5 City Councilor Dennis Giombetti and District 6 Councilor Michael Rossi.
District 9 City Councilor was not in attendance due to an illness.
“If you wanted to operate a food truck in Framingham, you had to do everything twice – once for the state and once for the City of Framingham,” said Cannon. “Starting in January last year, food trucks had an extra step in the City they did not have elsewhere. It didn’t make sense, and it was hurting local businesses. We changed that.”
“It was not the businesses fault it took the City so long to change the process. So they continued to be billed. It is only right that we refund the fees, as a good will gesture to show that Framingham is business-friendly,” said Cannon.
The previous policy was hurting business like Exhibit A Brewery, Springdale Barrel Room, and Eastleigh Farm, said Cannon.
“Food trucks were a big draw for a business like Exhibit A, which is located in an environmental-justice neighborhood,” said Cannon.
“It is not the amount of the money being refunded to the handful of trucks, but the gesture of the good will. Some of these trucks never wanted to come back to Framingham after the hassel of the license. This shows that we can fix a problem, and prove that we are listening to the business community,” said Cannon, who serves as the chair of the City Council’s economic development subcommittee.
“We operate under laws and rules and ordinances,” said Councilor Richardson, who voted against the $1,425 refund. “Not sure if understood or appreciated by folks,” she said of the refund.
Each business should receive with the check, a letter explaining the refund and encouraging them to continue to do business in the City of Framingham, said Tully Stoll.
Giombetti said he wanted to only refund the license fees from the date the City Council passed the ordinance.
“It still tells businsess community we heard them,” said the chair of the Council.