Selma’s licensing procedures under review

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 4, 2003

An ordinance to change how the Selma City Council revokes business licenses was placed on first reading at the council’s Nov. 24 meeting.

Instead of the council revoking a license without hearing from a business owner, that owner would get the chance to speak, According to City Attorney Jimmy Nunn.

The ordinance states that &uot;At the hearing…such licensee shall have the right to introduce witnesses and evidence on his behalf, and the City Council shall hear all witnesses and evidence in support of the revocation of such license.&uot;

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Nunn said the hearing added due process to the system.

Adding a hearing to the license revocation process is only one change the ordinance would make.

Nunn said the current ordinance dealing with business license revocation lists the health, welfare and safety of the city as reasons for revoking a license. The new ordinance adds nuisance as well as harming the public health and public morals.

If the ordinance passes, a business owner violating it would be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Nunn said an example of harming the public health included not removing contaminants from a business site. An example of a nuisance included noise rattling neighbor’s windows. &uot;That’s a nuisance, but it also goes against the welfare of the city,&uot; Nunn said.

An example of something that harmed public morals was more difficult to pin down. &uot;It would definitely have to be something that’s going against the public interest,&uot; Nunn said. &uot;Something that would be distasteful in the public eye.&uot;

If it passes, the council will decide what is harmful to public morals. However, Nunn said that it would require public outcry from the community.

The ordinance isn’t the only one expected to come to vote. Nunn said he was preparing a number of others, which concerned business licenses and taxes.

Those are expected to be placed on first reading in January. All ordinances will most likely come to a vote next month.