WATERLOO — A City Council member challenging the mayor for his seat in November says it is “fundamentally wrong” for him to invest in a local ice cream shop. The mayor said he’s done everything by the book.
Ward 1 Councilor Margaret Klein sent out a news release Wednesday calling for Mayor Quentin Hart to “immediately divest his holdings” in 2 Scoops Ice Cream Shop, at 403 Franklin St., in light of the city’s proposed mobile food truck ordinance.
“Since taking ownership of the ice cream parlor, the mayor has advanced new licensing fees for food vendors, including ice cream vendors, which have the appearance of punishing his competitors,” Klein said in the statement.
Klein announced in June she would challenge Hart for mayor.
Hart confirmed Wednesday he retains an ownership stake in 2 Scoops, but said he clarified with the county attorney that his involvement in the business is legal and does not pose a conflict of interest.
“Like many of my predecessors, I am proud to be a small business owner in this community,” Hart said in a statement. “It has given me a better understanding of the challenges they face and how critical small businesses are to the health of our local economy.”
The food truck ordinance, which wouldn’t go into effect until January, would mandate fire inspections and licensing for food trucks and carts, which would include ice cream trucks.
The ordinance, if approved, would actually lower licensing fees for such businesses to $100 for a 30-day period and $350 for a 365-day period. Currently, food trucks need a transient merchant license, according to the city clerk, which costs $45 per day.