The Killeen City Council reached a consensus Tuesday to adopt a three-tier fine system for violators of the city’s property codes.
The council is expected to vote the fines into law at its next regular meeting Tuesday.
The measure is part of an ongoing city beautification effort, and tougher fines are expected to encourage noncompliant property owners to clean up their properties.
Common violations observed by the city’s code enforcement staff include high grass, junked vehicles and litter.
Under the current system, violators can receive a one-time fine of between $100 and $2,000 for a code violation.
If the proposal is passed, violators would receive a seven-day notice in the mail before a series of fines would begin until the violation is resolved.
All single-family residential properties would receive a $100 minimum fine for the first notice, a $250 fine for the second notice and a $500 for the third notice. All fines are considered separate offenses.
All nonsingle-family properties, including businesses, would receive minimum fines of $250 for the first notice, $500 for the second notice and $750 for the third notice, under the new proposal.
Killeen Mayor Dan Corbin — a prominent local lawyer — said that, although the maximum for each fine is $2,000, judges almost always assess the minimum fine amount.
“The rule in the courtroom is don’t make the judge mad,” Corbin said. “When they make the judge mad, they get the book thrown at them.”
In other action Tuesday, the city received a briefing from its external auditor, Weaver & Tidwell LLP, regarding its finances for fiscal year 2011-12.
Jerry Gaither, a partner at Weaver & Tidwell, called the city’s financial position strong, citing a healthy fund balance of more than 25 percent of the general fund.
Auditors were not able to present the full Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, since they are awaiting information from the Killeen Economic Development Corporation, which is considered a component of the city’s financial system.
Gaither said among the audit findings are some “policies and procedures that need clarification and consistency,” but his firm is waiting for the full report to reveal the findings.