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Small Tucson restaurants to get a break on fees they pay delivery services
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Small Tucson restaurants to get a break on fees they pay delivery services

New concepts like Rae's Classics Burgers, Fries and Pies cater to online delivery platforms like GrubHub. 

The Tucson City Council approved a cap on commissions for third-party restaurant delivery services Tuesday.

It prevents companies like DoorDash, UberEats and GrubHub from charging locally-owned restaurants more than 15% as they continue to deal with the financial impact of the pandemic.

The ordinance, which will go into effect Oct. 15, will only apply to those locally-owned restaurants with fewer than five locations that have not already gone into contractual partnerships with the delivery services.

According to the Mayor and Council, third party services often charge restaurants commission fees that can exceed 30% of the purchase price of the order. Because many restaurants were forced to cease dine-in service to accommodate for social distancing requirements, they now rely on takeout and delivery services as their primary source of revenue.

“For local restaurants, the ability to provide food through these delivery services was the difference between staying open or closing,” said Mayor Regina Romero. “Establishing a cap on third-party restaurant delivery services will help support these smaller, locally-owned restaurants during this temporary economic environment.”

In addition to the 15% cap, the ordinance also prohibits third party delivery services from advertising or arranging food delivery from a restaurant unless it obtains written authorization first. This will go into effect on Jan. 1 to give the companies time to adjust.

Violations of the ordinance by any third party delivery service will result in a civil infraction and a fine of up to $1,000.

Conveyance of Mission Library

The council also voted Tuesday to transfer ownership of the Mission Library, located on the corner of West Ajo Way and South Mission Road, to Pima County. The county has plans to renovate and rename the library after the late chair of the Pima County Board of Supervisors, Richard Elias.

“I think it is a wonderful partnership between the City of Tucson and Pima County,” said Romero. “I think it’s such a wonderful way of recognizing the late Supervisor Richard Elias, especially because he was such a proponent of literacy and helping children and adults learn to read.”

An intergovernmental agreement passed in 2006 states that if the county makes a capital improvement to a city library building that is equal to or greater than 50% of the improved real property’s value, the city and county should negotiate a conveyance. In this case, the property’s value is estimated to be approximately $2 million and the county plans to invest up to $5 million.

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