Don Gansen's relationship with Riverton city officials is about as chilly as the ice cream his company sells from its trademark trucks, but a thaw could be on the way.
Gansen is unhappy that Riverton charges $20 per truck per day to sell ice cream there - a price far higher than other communities.He said he wants to work things out but has gotten the cold shoulder from employees at city hall when he has called. "One lady told me, `Look, we just don't want ice cream trucks here because of the noise and the nuisance.' "
He also said his request to meet with Riverton Mayor Sandra Lloyd was ignored even after he left her a message.
However, Lloyd said she hadn't learned about the ice cream flap until recently when a woman complained about an ice cream truck in a neighborhood during the weekend.
"I'm willing to meet with him and talk with him. I'm willing to get it on the agenda for February. It would be a perfect time because it would give the legal time required to hold the public hearings prior to when he would want to come in and start business," Lloyd said.
But Gansen said he can't understand why the city wants to wait until next year.
Admittedly, he wants to make money with his Kearns-based Dads Ice Cream Wagons business. But Gansen said he also wants to ensure that Riverton prepares a complete ordinance that addresses safety issues and reduces its fee, which he considers excessive.
"February would work," Gansen conceded, "but I would have liked to do it before then. We go out (to sell ice cream) in March and April. I don't see how they can even get the legal things I want to present to them (in an ordinance). Let's have swing arms (for signs to protect kids). Let's have police background checks on drivers. I don't want some pervert out there working for me or anyone else."
Gansen said he doesn't see how all these issues could be put into legal language and presented in public hearings in one month.
Besides, ice cream truck drivers idled by winter weather are eager to get back on the road in March.
"It seems to me that they just don't want ice cream trucks out there period. Otherwise, they would have worked with me back in June when I called," Gansen said.
Lloyd, however, denies disliking the dessert.
"I love ice cream," she declared. "Probably too much."
The ordinances regulating ice cream trucks vary widely from one community to the next along the Wasatch Front.
West Valley City charges $20 per truck per year (plus $115 for a solicitor's license for the entire business, $6 per employee and 50 cents for each truck sticker). Centerville charges $140 per person for a year. West Jordan charges $170 per season for a vendor's permit.
Regulations for ice cream trucks also vary widely.
Salt Lake City, for example, does not require police background checks for people who drive ice cream trucks.
Gansen is known for having strict company standards when it comes to security. He prefers that all drivers undergo a criminal background check whether or not the community they are working in requires it.