When was the last time you visited Morenci’s dairy store or bakery? Have you driven by the milk plant or sat down at the soda fountain?
Those who have lived here long enough may recall all of those places, along with traveling shows, card rooms and billiard rooms, but most residents would only look quizzically.
Those businesses and others are listed in Section 12 of the city code book where readers learn this fact:
Before any individual, partnership, joint venture, or corporation engages in any of the businesses or occupations within the city of Morenci listed in section 12-27, they must secure a license from the city by application to the city clerk. Whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor.
There it is in black and white. If you operate a grocery store, you need a license. The same for restaurants, auctioneers and junk dealers—even circuses, carnivals and taxi cabs.
As possibly the oldest continuing business in the city, the Observer—at age 144—doesn’t have a license to operate here, and as far as we know, it’s never been required.
A lot of material from times past was removed from the city code book in the 1980s, but not all the artifacts of former decades was taken out. Section 12 is one part that is no longer needed, at least not if city officials have no intention of issuing licenses.
City council has scheduled a public hearing at the next meeting on Monday to consider removing the section from the code book, and that’s a good decision. There’s no need to worry about issuing licenses for itinerant restaurants and hawkers if city hall has no means or desire to carry out the law.