The never-ending story of Bill’s Bookstore appears destined to do just that in light of the Johnson County Commissioners Court’s Monday vote not to purchase the building.
The court’s decision not to purchase the downtown Cleburne building bumps owner Bill Miller back to square one, leaving few options for him or the city as the clock ticks down.
City leaders, citing multiple health and safety code violations, shuttered the building in May and told Miller he could not operate his bookstore or live there until he corrected the violations.
Miller, 81, said he lives solely on Social Security and cannot afford the necessary repairs. Miller said he had made or was in the process of making repairs as money from his business came in, but ran out of time.
Miller operated a bookstore out of the building, 116 S. Main St., since the early ’80s and said his was one of the few businesses that attracted residents and out-of-towners to the downtown area. The building, Miller said, is one of downtown’s oldest.
Several residents last year helped Miller relocate to an apartment in Grandview and helped organize sidewalk book sales to raise additional funds. Miller, for a time, operated a second bookstore on North Anglin Street, which has since closed. A traffic accident late last year totalled Miller’s car, leaving him no way to travel from Grandview to Cleburne.
In that accident Miller received a ticket for failure to yield right of way. Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Ronny McBroom on Thursday entered a judgment against Miller for $5,700, the cost of damages to the other driver’s pickup. Miller told McBroom he thought he had insurance coverage, but that someone canceled it. McBroom said he’s aware of Miller’s situation and sympathetic, but had no choice but to follow the law in the traffic accident case.