LONG BEACH, Miss. (WLOX) - Food trucks are a growing trend across the country and two cities on the Gulf Coast are discussing how to make them a reality. City leaders in both Ocean Springs and Long Beach are discussing allowing mobile food vendors.
Tuesday night, Long Beach officials discussed the issue extensively during the board of aldermen at meeting.
Alderman-at-large Donald Frazer said the city is for allowing the mobile food vendors but wants to make sure they get it right so it’s in the best interests of the city and the city’s businesses.
“We have been working on this for several months," said Frazer. "Basically what we’re trying to do is make sure this is a good mesh between a very popular trend in food trucks and our city and our brick and mortar restaurants that we currently have.”
The city’s efforts to appease restaurant owners and try to regulate the food truck business has made some local business owners happy.
“Absolutely I would think that would be the whole impetus of putting these ordinances on the books to kind of make it a fair playing field for the establishments that are already here," said Brandon Atwell, the co-owner of Murky Waters BBQ. "The example is that someone could drive a truck from Louisiana, come in to the city, set up, sell items, not collect a single sales tax dollar, not pay the appropriate taxes, insurance and what not and then drive straight back to Louisiana.”
The city will hold a work session June 11 to further discuss the issue. In the meantime, aldermen say they will continue to educate themselves on the impacts of allowing mobile food vendors and discuss how to structure a possible food truck ordinance.
The issue of allowing permitted food trucks was also on the agenda in Ocean Springs Tuesday night when the city’s board of aldermen met. However, city leaders put off making a decision on whether to regulate food trucks because two of the aldermen and the mayor were absent from the meeting.
Currently, Ocean Springs has no way to force mobile food vendors to follow city rules.
“I think that would be an awesome thing, a lot of variety, a lot of opportunities for entrepreneurs, and just another attraction to add to this great little town of Ocean Springs,” said Paisley.
The city leaders decided it would be best if the topic was set aside for the entire board and the city’s chamber of commerce to weigh in on the outcome. A date for that discussion hasn’t been set.