NYC food vendors say they are being harassed by the city

Posted at 9:36 PM, Jan 31, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-31 21:36:03-05

Food vendors with mobile carts in New York City are fed up with the city’s fines and believe they are being unfairly targeted.

Vendors say they are very often the target of health and code enforcement officers looking for any and all reasons to issue violations.

Just last week a Halal food vendor who gave his first name, Alan, says he was ticketed after rice fell on the ground during the lunch rush.

Tickets Street Project Director Sean Balinski says street vendors they can’t afford to pay.  “The city can try and collect that for as long as they want but it’s not going to work.”

More than 26,000 tickets are issued each year, but most go unpaid. Advocates say instead of the city tracking down vendors, forcing them to cough up the cash, they should do something to help

“We end to lower the cost of tickets so they can pay fine,” Balinski said.

Turns out, Mayor Bloomberg wants to do the exact opposite and allocated funds to hunt down street vendors, hoping to get the city millions in outstanding fines.

Unfortunately it’s tough to collect fines. If they don’t collect fines there is no incentive for them to wash their hands and make sure everything is sanitary.

In his latest budget proposal, he’ll set aside $580K to pay a seven-person team to track down violators.

Alan says it’s unfair. He sterilizes his cart and keeps his food fresh every day.