SYRACUSE — The Syracuse Town Council is considering amending the peddler permit at the request of Police Chief Jim Layne. Layne explained during the council’s regular council meeting Tuesday night, June 21, that businesses such as Nelson’s and food trucks would need a peddler permit.
Those selling food items would pay a higher fee than those selling T-shirts. Council member Tom Hoover noted the fees recommended for Syracuse were higher than surrounding communities, but expressed support for the local businesses paying taxes rather than those that don’t.
Robert Mayhew, owner of the Chatterbox Food Truck, stated he thought $300 every 6 months for a permit was too much. He told the council North Webster and Columbia City only charges $50, while Warsaw only charges $20 for a similar permit.
Mayhew, who lives outside Syracuse town limits, noted he is licensed only for Kosciusko County and is in Syracuse three days a week, but that could increase. He explained to the council he is invited by local businesses such as Polywood, Montieth Tire and MedStat to park his truck and provide food to employees and other customers.
“I’m like a food gypsy. Usually the businesses will invite us (to park). It’s trendy, neat. Something different,” he told the council.
His business also supports the local economy since he purchases supplies from local businesses and hires local people.
Councilman Bill Musser asked if Mayhew felt he was taking business away from brick and mortar restaurants. Mayhew, who owned his own landscaping business for 15 years, said he was offering competition.
Another member of the audience noted most restaurants in town were so busy, he couldn’t pull his truck in to park and those that weren’t, didn’t serve good food.
Mayhew also explained in addition to the peddler permit, if he wanted to participate as a vendor in the Farmers and Artisan Market, or a special event, additional fees would be charged. He told the council he doesn’t have a problem paying a fee, just what Syracuse is proposing is too high.
The council is taking the proposed amendments under consideration.