City’s check of business licenses wise

Published 12:01am Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A law, a rule or a guideline is only good as its enforcement. No enforcement eventually means even the most law-abiding, rule-following people among us will begin to slip into bad behavior.

Thus is the case, apparently, with the City of Natchez and its requirement that every business in the city limits have a business license.

Apparently for years — no one is exactly sure how long — records were not kept to verify which businesses had a license and which didn’t.

Natchez operated on the honor system. Sadly, our world has mostly moved on from operating under the honor system because, well, frankly, we’re all humans and inherently a bit dishonest.

Fortunately for the City of Natchez, righting the wrong isn’t terribly difficult, just time-consuming. The city has hired a retired law enforcement officer to physically go around and check on businesses to see if they have a license to operate.

What he’s found so far is that a good number of people claim they didn’t know they needed a license or forgot to renew their existing license.

For years, the city mailed out renewal notices to businesses that already had licenses so the latter group may be conveniently forgetting to pay the fee.

Either way, the city is wise to try and resolve the problem. We only hope the solution doesn’t take more than the license revenue likely to be collected.