New state law intends to make it easier for food trucks to operate in cities across Texas, but Haltom City increases permanent fees and requirements on those operators.
HALTOM CITY, TX, December 13, 2023 /24-7PressRelease/ — In 2021, Haltom United Business Alliance (HUBA) spoke at the public hearing Haltom City was hosting as it sought to permit food trucks. Joe Palmer, HUBA Communications Director, said at that hearing that permit was not needed as Tarrant County’s health department currently licensed and inspected all food trucks as food trucks.
In drafting its food truck ordinance, Haltom City chose to place onerous restrictions on the trucks, including regulating where they parked, how they operated, and that they had to have the landowner’s permission in writing to be there.
HUBA made it clear at that hearing in 2021 that they felt those restrictions would keep food trucks from registering for the permit and/or coming into the city. In 2022, according to open records request, there were four permits taken out in the city and in 2023 through December 1, only one food truck took out a permit.
It would seem obvious, according to Joe Palmer, “that the permit’s restrictions are too high and that they keep the trucks from coming into the city legally, so Haltom City’s residents do not have food trucks like the residents of surrounding sister cities do.”
In addition, those in Haltom City who want to use food trucks for special events, including weddings, festivals, etc. are forced to go to another city or go through the burdensome requirements. In most cases, a property owner of a large shopping center or strip center has no incentive to give written permission for a food truck to be present, and, as HUBA pointed out, that permission should come from the resident who is in control of the premises.
Texas State House bill 2878 was recently passed and put in place in September 2023. The author of the bill stated the intent of the bill was to streamline permitting requirements for food trucks because many Texas cities had ordinances and fees and the cost and compliance issues were burdensome for food truck operators. The bill sought to consolidate all those requirements into one state bill, charging the county health department with registering permitting and inspecting the food trucks.
While the state legislature was busy making it easier for operators, Haltom City was doing the opposite. The Haltom City Council moved to increase the fee for food trucks to $250 annually and to continue the burdensome requirement of requiring written permission from the landowner before a food truck could set up.
Ron Sturgeon, a property owner in Haltom City, and one of the founders of HUBA was dumbfounded, stating, “When you only have one food truck in an entire year acquire a permit, it would seem obvious that the permit requirements are not working.”
Sturgeon added, “We can look around. We do see food trucks occasionally but have to know that many simply aren’t coming to Haltom City and risking getting a ticket. As a result, Haltom City citizens have to go to other cities to patronize food trucks. One of the sister cities, Southlake, chose to not charge anything for permitting food trucks.”
HUBA has been lobbying for the revitalization of southern and Central Haltom City. The main corridor along Denton Highway continues to lose businesses and has a 29% vacancy rate, according to a third-party business census completed in December 2022 Sturgeon who founded Make Haltom City Thrive Again hopes to see new leadership elected that is business friendly and interested in rebuilding the older parts of the city, where the businesses have left over the last few decades to bring back the prosperity, jobs, products and services to make Haltom City a viable alternative to sister cities.
About Haltom City
Haltom City is a diverse, majority working-class city located between Dallas and Fort Worth in Tarrant County, TX. Haltom City is minutes from both the DFW Airport and Downtown Fort Worth with direct access to major highways including I-820 and SH-121. Due to an outdated and restrictive use matrix that discourages new business and deters growth, several areas of Haltom City have seen a decline in small businesses which provided goods and services and were a significant source of jobs, including the once-thriving automotive industry. However, Haltom City can reverse this trend and should prioritize development of inner-city land and vacant buildings, particularly in the major corridors close to the city’s center. The city is financially healthy with a capable manager and staff who would like to see diverse business development occur and need the support of the City Council to make it happen.
About Haltom United Business Alliance
Haltom United Business Alliance (HUBA) is a group of business owners dedicated to representing existing business interests in Haltom City and promoting the growth of diverse businesses as well. Innovative strategies are needed to create a strong tax base and enhance quality of life for residents, city employees, and business owners. All Haltom City business owners are eligible to join HUBA. For more information, contact Joe Palmer at (682) 310-0591 or by email at HUBAgrp@gmail.com or visit the group’s Facebook page at Haltom United Business Alliance.
About Make Haltom City Thrive Again
The Make Haltom City Thrive Again website offers information and resources about its purpose and goals. For more on Sturgeon’s personal ideas and background, check out his book Keeping the Lights on Downtown in America’s Small Cities and watch the videos on his Facebook page. Ron is also the founder of the Haltom United Business Alliance (HUBA) which represents existing business interests in Haltom City and promotes growth of diverse businesses as well. HUBA is not a political action committee and does not endorse candidates. If/when Ron endorses candidates, he will do so on his own with the Make Haltom City Thrive Again organization.
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