Cortland City Council Split on Ice Cream Truck Law, Mayor Breaks Tie
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Cortland City Council Split on Ice Cream Truck Law, Mayor Breaks Tie
In a split vote last night with Mayor Brian Tobin breaking the tie, the Cortland City Council approved a local law that will allow mobile ice cream trucks to operate within the city.

In a 4 to 4 tie with Tobin casting the deciding vote, city leaders approved a local law that will provide an opportunity for mobile ice cream vendors to push their cold treats in neighborhoods and other locations around the city.
City Alderman Julie Bird was one of the no votes against the law, Bird says she supports the concept but feels the city should have considered a more comprehensive local law that also addresses other mobile food vendors. Mobile food trucks will not be permitted under the new law.
4th ward Alderman John Bennett who researched the local law says many communities treat mobile ice cream trucks and food vendors separately due to the various concerns and issues that accompany each type of business. Bennett said the city needs a separate ordinance for mobile food vendors.
Alderman Linda Ferguson rejected the change, she wanted the law to include a provision requiring all employees of a mobile ice cream business to be required to undergo background checks as part of an effort to keep potential sex predators away from kids.
City Police Chief Mike Catalano pointed out only specific professions are required to submit to criminal background checks, ice cream vendors are not among those jobs. City Attorney Ric VanDonsel said the city could not force the businesses to comply with the background check requirement.
Tobin cast the tie breaking vote and said he supports the idea of mobile ice cream vending.
Opponents of mobile food business say they undercut fixed based business owners who pay higher taxes which support the community. 
The ordinance requires that the mobile ice cream vendors stay 500 feet from a fixed base business selling ice cream and 500 feet from schools a half hour before and after classes.
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