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Local food truck owner looks to expand onto town property

A local business woman might expand her food truck locations to a spot near Rodgers Tavern in Perryville.

Jessica Ewing, founder of "Say Cheese" Grilled Cheese Gourmet, explained to the mayor and board of commissioners Tuesday during a work session meeting, "A lot of my business has been from the schools," and now that school is out for the summer, she wants to try something else.

The food truck is often parked on Route 40 across from the Food Lion, also in Perryville, and American Home and Hardware in Elkton. Ewing said she pays a fee to use the spot near Food Lion.

Ewing said she may park her business near the tavern, which the town owns, one day a week or even three days a week, and it may vary every week.

"It would be from 11:30 [a.m.] to 2:30 [p.m.] for lunch and then I'm out of there," she said. Ewing added she keeps the truck at a local restaurant, so she would pack up everything at the end of the day, including any trash.

"I'm just trying to spread my wings," Ewing said.

Commissioner Barbara Brown, who has been involved with the project at Rodgers Tavern, said she was concerned with Ewing possibly running her business while people are doing things at the tavern.

Ewing said it could be as simple as the town notifying her that a particular time would be inconvenient for her to be there and she would go elsewhere. She added she posts on Facebook where she'll be parked that day for her customers.

"I'm not too worried about the clientele," she said.

"What if someone falls? Who's responsible?" Brown asked, referring to carrying insurance.

Ewing carries her own insurance for the business, she responded, in case something does happen and provides her policy wherever she works on another company's property.

Brown was also concerned with keeping a trash can available on the property, which Ewing would be responsible for, if she were to use town property.

"Absolutely," Ewing said. "No trash is left behind."

Commissioner Michael Dawson asked if Ewing had approached the owners of another property off of Broad Street near Roundhouse Drive, somewhat near the tavern, which he thought was owned by Fred Linkous. She had not, but was open to the idea.

Dawson asked Town Administrator Denise Breder if the town would charge Ewing a fee for running her business on town property.

It would be up to the mayor and commissioners to make that decision, Breder said, as the town doesn't get too many requests like this.

Earlier in the year, a different business owner had brought up the idea of leasing a concession stand at the town's boat launch. The gentleman, however, decided not to go through with the plan as it would cost more to run the business than he would potentially make in profit.

The town, Breder said, had agreed to charge that business owner $100 a month, and since Ewing said she was paying the same amount for a different location, suggested that "might be reasonable" as far as a fee.

The location Ewing was interested in "needs to be open for everybody" to run their business, Dawson said.

Ewing understood and suggested that people may even see her there and other businesses may want to join her.

"It would be nice if that were a hot spot," Mayor Jim Eberhardt said.

Brown added that she, too, would like to see multiple vendors at that location, but would rather see the businesses on commercial property rather than one that is owned by the town.

Ewing said she is "happy with Elkton and Perryville for now" as her prime food truck locations, but is looking at expanding more, possibly to Harford County, some time in the future.

Online payments

The town will also need to consider changing providers for online payment services through its website.

The mayor and commissioners voted in December to hire FIS to provide services for residents to pay their water and sewer bills online, but at the time the company didn't have the contract drawn up.

FIS was asking for a five-year contract and would charge a $1,000 fine if the town canceled before the end of the contract — something the town was very hesitant to opt into.

Town employee Amy Parker came back before the board to give recommendations on other possible providers.

Point and Pay, Parker explained, would have no setup fee for the service and no fee to start it. There would be, however, a 25-cent fee each day there is a payment made. For the residents, it would be a $1.50 fee to pay by check and a flat fee of $5 or tiered fee of $2 per $50 increment of the customer's bill when paying by credit card.

There would be no fine if the contract were canceled.

Nationwide Payments Solutions also has the same 25-cent fee for the town, and is compatible with computer software for water and sewer billing the town is considering buying.

There would also be a $1.50 fee for customers who paid with a check and a 2.45 percent of the total bill for those who pay by credit card.

Parker noted that Nationwide is "the one I'd be more comfortable with, personally," especially if the town decides to buy the computer software.

Movies behind town hall

The Good Cause Foundation has requested the use of Trego Field near town hall to hold movie nights Aug. 17 and 24.

The appeal of the park is because there is a nearby playground available for children to play in a safe, fenced-off area.

The church group hopes to show family-friendly movies and it would be open to the public.

Amplified music at the community park

Iota Nu Uplift Foundation has asked the town to have amplified music during one of its events at the community park, which has already been approved, on Aug. 11.

The town, however, prohibits amplified music as not to disturb anyone else using the park or pavilions.

Brown commented that she was "not in favor of doing it" since it may cause complaints from other visitors.

The mayor and commissioners brainstormed ideas as to accommodate the group while not disturbing anyone else, such as requiring Iota Nu to rent the other smaller pavilion in addition to the one they already requested. Theoretically, this would prevent another group from renting the space and being bothered by the music.

The decision was still up in the air after a few more ideas were brought up.

Computer maintenance

The town will need to decide whether to extend a contract with a computer maintenance and technical support company, Onsite Computers, which has been servicing the town for the past year.

It was believed that the extended contract would be for one year, but the company is asking for two.

No one had complaints about the company and when comparing prices with two other providers, Onsite was the cheapest at $1,100 a month.

Breder suggested that the town get another competitive bid to make three in total before a final decision is made.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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