County to allow food trucks year-round


Food trucks will soon be allowed in the county year-round.

“We were only permitting mobile food units for temporary events,” Christina Pierini, food safety and environmental specialist at the Dubois County Health Department, said Monday afternoon. “Now we offer a seasonal and a yearly permit for a mobile retail food establishment.”

The Dubois County Commissioners approved changes to its food ordinance Monday morning, to allow mobile food establishments to operate all year or seasonally, which is up to eight months in a year.

Mobile retail food establishments must operate from a commissary that has been permitted by the health department. A commissary is defined as “a permitted facility used to receive, store and prepare food items to be sold at another location.” The mobile food vehicles must go to the commissary each day for food and supplies, as well as cleaning and services to operate.

Some changes in wording and definitions were also made to include commissary and mobile retail food establishments. For instance, “mobile retail food establishment” was added in the definition for temporary establishments, which can operate for up to 14 consecutive days in conjunction with an event.

Food establishments, including mobile retail food establishments, must be reviewed and permitted annually.

The changes will go into effect after the changed ordinance is published twice.

The commissioners also:

• Approved reducing the speed limit from 45 miles per hour to 35 miles per hour on Ferdinand Road East from the Ferdinand town limit to a quarter mile east of the town limit.

• Hired Kyle Jones as a District 2 truck driver for the county highway department.

• Supported County Engineer Brent Wendholt’s request to look into establishing a schedule for conducting inspections of small drainage structures, like culverts. Structures that are 20 feet and longer are already inspected. Wendholt estimated there are more than 200 structures that are less than 20 feet long.

• Continued their discussion about updating the county’s method for computing and distributing paid time off for county employees. No decisions were made; they plan to continue reviewing and discussing the matter. The commissioners agreed that any changes made would not go into effect before 2021.

• Discussed the possibility of creating a regional sewer and water district. This does not mean the county will install lines, County Attorney Greg Schnarr confirmed. The county would be the county agency utility companies would work with to install lines in unserved areas, if that need arises. The commissioners told Schnarr to continue researching the logistics and costs.

• Hired American Legal Publishing Co. to codify the county’s ordinances, which includes the company compiling them and putting them into electronic form for public access.

• Supported 911 Director Jeana Mathies’s plan to request that the Dubois County Council appropriate $16,500 from the 911 surcharge fund for needed software technology updates.

• Approved county tourism’s request to place Santa’s House on the southwest corner of the Dubois County Courthouse property. It will be placed on Nov. 14 and remain through the Christmas holidays.

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