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Texas

Killeen cracks down on vacant property owners; may face a fine of up to $2,000 per day

KILLIN, TX (KWTX) – Owners of vacant buildings in downtown Killeen will pay a hefty fine of up to $2,000 a day if they don’t register them soon.

The city council is cracking down on these owners so the city can move forward with revitalizing the area.

No entry signs and broken windows make life difficult for some business owners like Isabelle Nunoc.

“It’s terrible. It’s terrible because a lot of people don’t want to come to Killeen downtown because they see the buildings are empty of debris. It helps the homeless sleep in front of the buildings,” Nunok said.

She said she has owned Ricon de Panama since 2015 and is passionate about what downtown has to offer. “This is history here, and you guys have to tell your story so that people want to come here,” Nunok said.

City Council member Jose Segarra explained that the city council passed a regulation Tuesday that requires building owners to register them as empty or pay a fine of up to $2,000 a day.

“You will start accumulating a new fine. We hope this will attract people’s attention. They’ll say, “Wait a minute,” that’ll piss them all off, that’ll piss them off, whatever it is, Segarra said.

“It’s good that they can do something for these buildings. So, people who want to work for Killeen will have the opportunity to do so, and then clients will come to us because they will see something different,” Nunok said.

Segarra said that if the property owner did not pay the fines, they would have to go to court.

He said that if they ignored the process, he hoped the city could take it one step further by imposing bail on vacant buildings.

“It’s a tax withholding and then you can sell that building to pay off any kind of taxes that are there,” Segarra said.

Segarra said the goal is to revitalize the area and attract more potential business owners and more customers.

Nunok said she sees the future of downtown Killeen and said the city is taking the right steps in that direction.

“Give Killeen the opportunity to grow, become better, so that we have more customers. This is your story, so let it be revealed,” Nunok said.

Officials said 29 of the 35 vacant apartments were not registered as vacant.

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