While the city’s brick-and-mortar business owners continue to grouse over the mindboggling number of rules, regulations and requirements imposed by the city – and the fines they might incur – the city’s fleet of food trucks and army of street vendors can breath easier: the city has slashed in half the amount of fines that can be imposed on them.
The City Council passed a handful of new legislation last week aimed at making business easier for mobile vendors, including creating a $500 cap on the amount of fines a vendor can receive during inspections. Previous regulations capped it at $1,000.
And while street vendors and the bill’s supporters say the new laws will help spur business and employment, brick-and-mortar owners say they’re getting an raw deal, with higher fines on top of the already steep overhead of New York City rent and regulations.
Councilman Vincent Gentile is helping lead the charge against the bill, saying its passage creates a double standard.
“I hear what [business owners are] going through with city agencies trying to wring them dry with fines and they are not happy,” Gentile said in a press release. “Why aren’t we lowering fines for the brick and mortar business owner who is already paying a premium to rent a storefront on a main commercial strip while covering business and property taxes, water bills and private sanitation?!”
According to the release, Gentile has been “banging the drum” on the issue since 2008 – though not with much success.
“The mobile food vendors of today should be held to the same standards as any brick and mortar restaurant,” he said.
Gentile is also in favor of legislation that would force food vendors to display letter grades from the Health Department, just as brick-and-mortar restaurants are required.