Marquette looking into ordinance that would address mobile food units

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By Audrey Posten, Times-Register


The Marquette Council, at its July 13 meeting, considered an ordinance that would address mobile food unit operation in the city.


Mayor Steve Weipert said city hall has had two requests to bring mobile food stands to Marquette, but the city code currently does not cover the businesses.


“We’re kind of running on a peddler’s ordinance right now for the one person who is in town,” Weipert said. “It really doesn’t apply to them, but it’s the only way we can keep track at this time.”


“We’ve done the peddler’s license, but when you go to read the state code, there are different rules for peddler’s licenses than for mobile food licenses. I want to make sure they have the proper stuff from the Department of Health,” added city clerk Bonnie Basemann.


An ordinance would require a mobile food vendor to get a license from the city, which would hold them to state and health requirements, said Weipert.


“There’s also language in here, like if you’re having an event at the park and they’re selling food, well that vendor cannot set up down in the park and be competition,” he continued.


According to Basemann, events like the flea market, or even an arts and crafts festival, would be exempt from the ordinance.


She encouraged council members to think about where they would allow mobile food vendors to set up. The prime example is the vacant downtown lot across from Eagles Landing Winery, which one vendor has already been utilizing.


“The DNR would probably not allow them to park at the marina parking lot because that’s supposed to be exclusive for boaters,” Basemann noted.


The council agreed an ordinance would be helpful, but tabled discussion to further consider and simplify the information presented.


Marquette eligible for COVID recovery funds

The council approved a resolution authorizing the mayor and clerk to execute documents to receive Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, established by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.


“The federal government has allocated a bunch of money—$350 billion—for state and local governments to respond to COVID emergencies. It is allocated based on your population,” said Basemann.


Marquette would receive an estimated $60,000, which would arrive in two separate payments. Basemann said the first disbursement will come this year, then the second a year from now. Municipalities will have until the end of 2024 to decide how to spend the funds, and until 2026 to actually spend them.


“So, if we get half the money this year, we can hold it until we find a project we’re interested in,” said Weipert.


“There’s new data coming out all the time on what it can be spent on, but this last data sheet has water and sewer infrastructure. It lists a lot of ideas,” Basemann added.


Police share speed data

Mar-Mac Police Chief Robert Millin provided the council with data from one of two speed signs the department will be using in Marquette and McGregor.


“It breaks it down in increments, tells you how many cars passed through that specific area. If you pick any half-hour segment, it will tell you what the fastest speed was, and then the average,” he said, listing a few of the capabilities.


For example, during a recent three-week stretch on Pleasant Ridge Road, at the base of the hill, the sign detected a maximum speed of 55 mph in a 25 mph zone. From 5:30 to 10:30 a.m. was the period with the highest average speed over a one-week span.


“We’ve found out more speeding violations occur in the morning, so we know we can do targeted patrol during those times,” Millin said.


The chief said he plans to rotate the signs throughout the two communities.


“My goal is to at least have one sign in at least one of the cities for a minimum seven days to two weeks. The batteries can last for four weeks, depending on the amount of traffic,” he explained.


In addition to the Pleasant Ridge Road area, the focus in Marquette will be the bench neighborhood as well as Nature’s Drive, in the Timber Ridge Subdivision.


Millin said the data will be important as the department applies for grants through Iowa’s Special Traffic Enforcement Program (sTEP).


“It’s a lot of excellent data. I was amazed when I first saw it. For our reporting purposes, this is going to exceed what they are requiring,” he said. “This data is also available to the cities if the cities want to use it for road improvements or something else.”

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