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Valley Homeowner Says Neighbor's Property Has Become Illegal

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BROWNSVILLE – The Cameron County Administrator said it's important for the cleanup cost of unkempt properties to go its owners.

Leonardo Olguin and his wife bought a property in Brownsville decades ago. Several years later, they were forced to move to San Antonio for work. They returned to the property a month ago and were surprised to find their home looted and their neighbor's property, an illegal dump site.

Olguin said that dump is creating an unhealthy situation.

"There are all kinds of vermin, you know, there's possums, there’s rats, snakes, a bunch of rats," he told CHANNEL 5 NEWS.

Olguin said mosquitoes are also a problem. He's working to rebuild his home one step at a time. However, his neighbor is nowhere to be found.

The Cameron County Environmental Health Department's director, Gustavo Olivares, said Olguin's next step should be filling a complaint with the office.

"Once we determine the violations and we conduct our assessment, then we will send a certified letter to the property owner advising them of the violations," he explained.

Olivares said property owners have the following 30 days to fix the violations. If they don't respond, they are sent a citation to appear in court and ordered to pay a fine.

Cameron County Administrator David Garcia told CHANNEL 5 NEWS if the county is unable to contact the property owner, the county will decide on a case-by-case basis to clean the property at the owner's expense.

"Picking up brush – whatever it may be – collecting tires; we document all that and make sure that we put a cost to it. Then we work with our legal department to issue a lien on that property," Garcia explained.

Garcia added when a property owner returns to claim their property, the lien must be paid before they can receive a clear property title. He said this is an important step in ensuring that taxpayers’ dollars go to county improvement projects.

Olguin told CHANNEL 5 NEWS he plans to file the complaint as soon as possible.

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