By Marilyn Miller | Wicked Local
WELLFLEET — Joseph Rugo soon will be operating a food truck at Baker’s Field, the selectmen agreed Tuesday.
Becky Rosenberg, recreation director, said she suggested the Baker’s Field site to Rugo and was in favor of the proposal. The food truck would give skateboarders and families a place to go for an inexpensive quick meal, she said.
Selectman Berta Bruinooge moved that the board allow Rugo the use of Baker Field from July to Sept. 10 for a fee of $2,500. This would be for one year, she said. “I used to finance start-up businesses for 25 years,” said Bruinooge, a former banker. “I know how tough it is to get a business up and running for someone new, and I’d hate to hit them with a big fee.”
The board approved her motion. Selectmen chair Paul Pilcher congratulated Rugo and told him, “We look forward to coming down and sampling your wares.” But he added, “If this comes up next year, I’ll want to put it out to bid, and the bargain price of $2,500 might be higher.”
Rugo’s quest, and the discussion of competitive bids, started earlier this month.
The young man told the selectmen at their June 10 meeting that he’s been working in local restaurants since he was 14 and saw the food truck as a way to start out small doing what he loves to do.
He was told then the town would have to seek competitive bids for what he proposed. This would take six weeks, Harry Terkanian, town administrator, told the board. Terkanian added there was a concern on the part of Selectman Jerry Houk, who was not able to attend the June 10 meeting, that a food truck selling tacos and hot dogs would have a competitive impact on other restaurants in the area.
Bruinooge scoffed at this idea “I somehow don’t think that a food truck would be real competition to a restaurant down there,” she said. “It would be more of a service to the skateboarders down there. I think it’s a nice idea,” she said.
She added she understood the need for competitive bids, but pointed out that would make it “rough for this year,” and suggested they find a way to approve Rugo’s proposal.
Pilcher pointed out if they sought bids, they probably would not be able to award a contract until the end of July.
Tom Reinhart of the finance committee suggested that since Rugo came up with a good idea, they should let him run the food truck for the six weeks it would take to seek bids “so he wouldn’t lose the whole summer.”
Pilcher said he did not think that legally they could do this, but Bruinooge suggested they put his request off for two weeks and see if they could come up with some way to accommodate it.
And that’s what they did. Tuesday, Terkanian reported that they could let Rugo operate his food truck without seeking bids provided the amount involved was less than $5,000. The best practice would be to seek bids, but they were not obligated by law to do so, he said.
Rugo told the board he talked to the other restaurants in the area and was told they had no objection to his proposal.
“Overall they were very supportive,” he said.