Madison County could cut food truck license fees

EDWARDSVILLE — Madison County may consider lowering its food truck permit fees.

The health department committee voted 4 to 1 on Friday to reduce the fee from $375 to $175.

There are currently 18 licensed “mobile facilities” in the county, according to Madison County Public Health Director Toni Corona. The health department charges fees for food permit licenses based on three categories of food establishments, she said.

“All of our fees are used to offset the food sanitation program,” she said.

Mobile food trucks are considered Category 1 or 2 establishments and are inspected the same as a restaurant and “brick-and-mortar” restaurants, Corona said.

Category 1 and 1a facilities receive three inspections per year, or two inspections per year if one of the following conditions is met:

• A certified food service manager must be present at all times when the establishment is in operation; Where

• Employees involved in food operations must complete a HACCP training exercise, on-the-job training in another food service sanitation area, or attend an educational conference on food safety or sanitation.

Category 2 and 2a installations receive one inspection per year.

Corona said she compared Madison County’s food truck charges to adjacent counties. St. Clair County charges between $78 and $100 per month. Jersey County charges $100. St. Louis and St. Charles counties charge $150. And Sangamon County charges $591.

She said the $200 cost of the plan review fee would remain the same. The cost of reviewing the plan is similar to other counties, she said.

In 2018, Madison County implemented food truck operation and permit fees.

At a Madison County Health Department committee meeting in May, Alton city officials and the owners of Flock, the new food truck fleet in Alton, asked the county to consider reduce permit fees to attract more food trucks.

County Board Member Mike Babcock, R-Bethalto, chairs the health department committee. He said he thinks the lower fees would promote economic activity in the county.

The committee’s lone vote against lowering the fee was cast by County Council Member Terry Eaker, R-Bethalto. He said he doesn’t believe food trucks should pay less than established restaurants in the same categories.

The finance committee is due to discuss the fee change at its 4 p.m. meeting on June 9. The full county council is due to discuss the change at its 5 p.m. meeting on June 15.

Milton S. Rodgers