An increase in the fire safety equipment required on food trucks may reduce the number of trucks interested in coming to Saugerties Food Truck Festivals this year. Deputy supervisor Leeanne Thornton said many of the vendors are complaining that they cannot afford to do business in Saugerties while other towns are ignoring the new requirement.
“We feel we have to follow the law; some towns don’t seem to feel that way,” Thornton said. “Last year we got a lot of pushback from some of the trucks because they said, ‘We’ve got this stuff, we’ve got our extinguishers. We literally can’t afford to remodel the whole food truck and put in the unit the state is saying we need to have.”
The trucks are inspected, and they pay a fee. “Last year, Saugerties took a minimal amount, but I don’t know where we’re going to go with it this year.” The problem is that while Saugerties enforces the state mandates, some communities shrug them off, Thornton said. There is no consistency among towns in the enforcement of equipment standards.
In the meantime, Thornton said she would talk to building inspector Alvah Weeks and assistant building inspector Kevin Brown and see what they think could be done. “If they can’t participate unless they have the equipment the state says they have to have, we’re not going to have any trucks.”
According to Thornton, Brown had suggested that Ulster County could mandate inspection and equipment requirements. While they could not be less than the state standards, County regulations would force towns to be consistent in their requirements, leveling the playing field. As it is now, food truck operators “look at it as a money grab from our Building Department,” Thornton said. People are already asking for the dates of the Food Truck Festival, “and I have to tell them we may not even do it this year.” If operators must meet the new code, the fees should be kept to a minimum, Thornton said, noting that they are already paying fees for the fire inspection that the Town must do.
The vendors will be notified when applications are sent out that state standards must be met, so they would not be making the trip to Saugerties for nothing. Those trucks that have equipment that meets the code would be the only ones that could participate, she said.