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Food truck ordinance heads for Jackson City Council vote

Don’t rush down to the corner looking for a food vending truck just yet.

Jackson City Councilman Quentin Whitwell’s plan for licensing food vending trucks and vending carts throughout the city received a public hearing last Tuesday but won’t get a final council vote until July 28, at the earliest.

“We are continually tweaking this as we get input,” Whitwell said.

The Ward 1 representative envisions food trucks offering diverse cuisine operating throughout downtown and the rest of the city, drawing attention to the city’s reputation for unique food and helping to promote up-and-coming local chefs. “In Jackson our food and our music are what we are known for internationally.”

The nationwide food truck trend is a perfect vehicle for raising the city’s profile, Whitwell said.

“These food trucks, they have television shows about them. It’s unbelievable.”

Whitwell inserted more specific language into the proposed ordinance detailing the inclusion of pushcarts as permitted uses. “I was concerned that the push carts may have gotten pushed to the side, so to speak,” he said.

The ordinance requires vendors to buy a $500 annual city license, obtain a city tax ID number and have a food permit from the Mississippi Department of Health.

The measure as now written also requires vendors to have preparation and sanitary equipment on their truck or pushcart or prepare the food at a Jackson restaurant they either own or have a contractual relationship with.

Fred Garrot, owner of Casual Catering, LLC, plans to deploy hot dog carts downtown. He said he is satisfied with the ordinance as now written.

“This ordinance is about economic development,” he said, predicting it will help to provide Jackson with its next generation of chefs and restaurateurs.

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