Restaurant and bar owners in Ottawa signed a letter to the City Council read aloud Tuesday night asking commissioners to regulate food trucks in the city.
Owners asked that commissioners look at regulations outside of festivals and city events because of the pandemic, stating that the last thing they need is food trucks sitting at their front door.
“COVID has hurt the hospitality industry more than others,” according to the letter. “We’ve had to close our doors, then had to do curbside pickup with only 50% capacity and then outdoor seating, but that doesn’t work for everything.”
Mayor Dan Aussem said the city has anticipated this request, although they legally cannot outright ban food trucks.
“I do think what we have found recently is that we don’t have any regulations or rules at all, so it’s a good time to possibly do a workshop to address the issues,” Aussem said. “I met with Bertha’s Food Truck here in town who had all the licenses, and they were registered to both La Salle County and the Illinois Department of Public Health. I think we can use them as a model for what’s required.”
In the letter, the bar and restaurant owners pointed out that they provide employment and tax money for the city, as well as donations and sponsorships for organizations and nonprofits. They questioned what food trucks bring to the city.
The letter was signed by 20 individuals, including representatives from Court Street Pub, BASH, Montes, A’Lure, Corner 230, Bianchi’s, R Grotto, Iniga, Woody’s, Sam’s Pizza, Berta’s, Cheese Shop, Dockside, Half Time, JJ’s Pub, Muffy’s, Ottawa Bakery, Casa Mia in Naplate, U.S. Foods and Outage.
In other items Monday, the City Council approved the emergency purchase of a new motor for Well 14 that will cost $15,600. Commissioners also approved a dispatch agreement with Earlville and Leland fire protection districts, which Commissioner James Less said will bring in an additional $26,000 in revenue for the city on agreements that are similar to ones in place with Marseilles and Wallace fire protection districts.