Today, the city's Independent Budget Office released its first ever report on the economic impact of street vendors. Crain’s has the full rundown, but the numbers are pretty shocking: last year the city spent $7.4 million on vendor enforcement and regulation, and collected just $1.4 million in fines. They are still waiting on nearly $15 million in unpaid fines issued between 2008 and 2009. The city also has 33 police officers solely dedicated to enforcing vendor regulations below 59th street.
The vendor fines and regulations are, of course, a complicated issue for everyone involved. As Matthew Shapiro, a legal authority from the Street Vendors Project (who put together the Vendys) tells Crain's:
“I think the report is misleading...It talks about vendors not paying their fines, but vendors who have outstanding violations cannot renew their licenses.”
Some fines can be up to $1,000, a sum that no one wants to pay, but that might be especially hard for the small-time breakfast or halal carts as opposed to the many big name, glossy food trucks. And naturally, the city isn't thrilled with spending so much money on enforcement, and having that huge debt owed to them. But is it the fault of the vendors for violating clearly defined regulations and then not paying up? Or the city for creating such excessive, onerous fines that the vendors can't afford to pay them, especially if their licenses are revoked and they're not generating any income?
· Street Vendors Lose Money for City [Crain's]
· All Food Truck Coverage on Eater [~ENY~]