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With the passage of House Bill 1005 this month, Colorado municipalities now have the ability to cap the fees charged to restaurants by third-party delivery services such as DoorDash and GrubHub. However, Superior leaders are struggling with how to implement such measures.

During its December meeting, the Superior Town Board of Trustees failed to pass an emergency ordinance that would have capped fees at 15% of orders and ensured that all fees paid to the third-party applications are transparent to restaurants and their customers.

The measure, which mirrors one approved this year in Denver, was defeated despite receiving support from five of the board’s seven members — Trustee Laura Skladzinski and Mayor Pro Tem Mark Lacis voted against it. That’s because emergency ordinances in Superior require approval from six trustees.

“The fees can be excessive and cause additional hardship to restaurants who are already struggling during this pandemic which restricts in-person dining,” Matt Magley said during the recent trustees meeting.

Trustee Tim Howard, in noting the “predatory nature” of third-party delivery services, said he’s spoken to restaurateurs who “were losing money on every meal that went out the door” because of exorbitant delivery fees.

Superior Chamber of Commerce executive director T.J. Sullivan said, “I heard from four (restaurants) today, and they’re all very supportive of the cap.”

Still, Lacis and Skladzinski opposed the fee cap.

“They have to have a way to take a cut,” Skladzinski said of the third-party applications. “I don’t think it’s ethical or the right thing to arbitrarily say you can’t charge more than 15% for this.”

Lacis said, “Generally speaking, I’m in favor of allowing the free market to work” and local restaurants aren’t forced to use third-party services.”

Skladzinski offered an amended version of the ordinance that kept the fee transparency requirements but dropped the fee cap. It failed because of a lack of a second.

It’s unclear whether any alternative measures to address the concerns of restaurant owners will be brought forward in the new year.

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