Morenci city council 2012.09.05

Posted in 2012 September

By DAVID GREEN

Morenci city council members discussed Aug. 27 the possibility of forbidding door-to-door sales in the city, with the exception of school groups.

Councilor Tracy Schell suggested either creating a stricter licensing procedure or banning sales altogether.

Schell made a motion to ban sales except for solicitation by minors for school or non-profit groups. Brenda Spiess said she has no problem with any age peddlers as long as it’s a non-profit group.

Police chief Larry Weeks said he had no opinion on which direction council takes, but he noted that the current ordinance calls for a certificate to be issued by the police chief. This is perceived to indicate that the peddler is of good moral character.

In the past that’s been done only by collecting photocopies of ID cards, he said. Some peddlers have a “colorful past” and he worries about them going door-to-door.

“I’m concerned that when I do get calls from people to see if the police department has licensed someone, there’s an impression that we’ve put our seal of approval on these folks to go door-to-door, that they’re a legitimate, honest business and I can’t say that.”

Mayor Keith Pennington wondered if this puts the city into a more prosecutorial role than it wants to be. The city would be doing more of an investigation when someone did nothing wrong.

“Wouldn’t Schwan’s ice cream come under this?” he asked, as well as lawn chemical companies.

Weeks noted that the city still has to clarify whether the city can restrict sales.

“I still question our legal abilities to do this,” he said.

He’s read about related cases that were ruled unconstitutional. 

Schell wondered if an individual could post a sign on their property stating that sales were not wanted. Weeks said that such a case could be prosecuted.

Schell said she’s heard support from residents who would like sales banned.

“There wasn’t anyone I spoke with who said, ‘Oh, no, don’t get rid of peddlers,’” Schell said. 

Weeks said the issue was raised not because of complaints, but because of his concerns that people feel the city is giving a stamp of approval on the peddlers.

“We need to clarify the issue one way or another. If I say ‘yes,’ I want it to mean something,” he said.

The issue was tabled until a review by the city attorney.

TRASH—Council heard the first reading of an amendment regarding refuse placed at the curb for removal. The amendment forbids a property owner from bringing trash into the city for removal. Trash from a township property, for example, could not be brought into the city for the weekly trash collection.

MEETING—Spiess will attend a conference of the Michigan Municipal League. The city will pay expenses that could total about $1,000.

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