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City attorney wants lawsuit over food trucks dismissed

Posted at 5:55 PM, Jun 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-23 20:00:02-04

A lawsuit filed by the owners of Michael’s Cantina in the Old Market is asking for fairness.

The current city ordinance does not address food truck regulation in the city of Omaha, including if they should pay the restaurant tax.

General Manager of Michael’s, Brandon Henery, said he wants the food trucks to pay the 2.5 perfect tax but he would also like if the restaurant tax just eliminated.

“Our stance is pretty much it's not right, it's unconstitutional, it doesn't belong there,” said Henery.

He also said they are asking for $100,000 which is the amount of money they have paid since 2010 when the restaurant tax was imposed.

The city attorney said in response to the lawsuit that in 2010 there were not enough food trucks to establish any sort of privilege or immunity and the complaint should be dismissed.

The city is currently working with the Omaha Food Truck Association to establish a new ordinance.

“Where we can park, how we can park, the hours of operation, how close we can be to an existing restaurant, all those are in negotiation right now,” said FTA president Kelly Keegan.

Keegan said the food trucks would pay the food tax if the city chooses to tax them, and the lawsuit between Michael’s and the city is speeding up talk about the new ordinance.

“So his lawsuit, while making us not pay the tax, is helping move along the agenda for the FTA, so in the big scheme of things we are getting where we need to go.”

“You have food trucks who are willing to pay the restaurant tax, you have a city that loves to collect tax money,  it seems like a match made in heaven, why is it not getting done?” asked Henery.

The city said they are working on the new ordinance for the food trucks and will present it to city council for approval when ready.