|Updated: 10/22/2013 10:44 pm
||Published: 10/22/2013 10:42 pm
One green country city passed a new law holding business owners responsible for cleaning up graffiti on their buildings.
FOX23 found out a new law in Tahlequah is actually considered much more lenient than one already on the book.
"Most of the graffiti tends to be on public property," said Tahlequah Mayor Jason Nichols.
You can see it all across some city parks. Nichols told FOX23's Dontaye Carter downtown Tahlequah is getting hit the hardest with graffiti.
"It was in black paint just said, "live every week like shark week," said Andrew Wells, a business owner.
He said his sister re-painted their building after it was spray painted. His business, Liberty Finance, has in the family since 1968.
"I don't remember much graffiti being anywhere," he said, describing what the area looked like decades ago.
Now he's seeing it all the time and now he'll be responsible for cleaning it up or face a $200 fine.
"The intent of this ordinance is never to get to that point," said Nichols.
He said the new ordinance passed was to replace an old property maintenance code the city past several years ago that wasn't enforced. The law only gave businesses owners ten days to clean it up. Nichols said the new one gives business owners an additional 20 days before the city contacts them.
He says that's 20 days the police have to hopefully catch the vandal so they can clean up the mess. The city has also looked into using fraternity groups from NSU or a local group with the drug court to clean it for service hours. However if that doesn't happen the property owner will be responsible for cleaning it up.
"Do you feel like this ordinance is fair to business owners?" asked Carter.
"We do. We know there's a perception they're being victimized twice we completely understand they've already been attacked by vandals and we don't want them thinking we're trying to do it them twice," said Nichols.
He believes this is the best alternative to making sure the city becomes beautiful.
"I can see both sides of the argument but me personally I understand yes the business was a victim but no one is going to fix it so it needs to be fixed," said Wells.
The graffiti ordinance will go into effect next month.