McDonald's Seeks Reduction In Taxes Because Of Nelsonville Bypass

By
Steve Robb - Athens Messenger staff reporter


Updated Sun, May 18, 2014 12:20 pm

A Nelsonville restaurant is seeking a reduction in property taxes, citing declining sales since the opening of the Nelsonville bypass as the reason.

McDonald’s has a case pending before the Athens County Board of Revision seeking a decrease in the taxable value of the restaurant property. The board, comprised of County Auditor Jill Thompson, Treasurer Bill Bias and County Commission President Lenny Eliason, hears complaints filed against the taxable values set on property.

The McDonald’s case was filed March 27 by local franchise owner Chris Cielec. The property is owned by McDonald’s Corp.

“We’ve seen a significant decrease in sales since the bypass has opened,” Cielec told The Athens Messenger, although he declined so cite specific figures.

According to information submitted with the complaint, which The Messenger obtained through a public records request, in the first five months after the bypass opened sales were down each month compared to the same months the prior year. The differences range from just over 25 percent to nearly 32 percent. In the two months preceding the opening of the bypass there had been a smaller drop off, 5.72 and 5.3 percent.

The Route 33 bypass of Nelsonville opened Oct. 1. McDonald’s is located at the intersection on Canal Street (old Route 33) and Watkins Street.

“We had a prime piece of property,” Cielec said. “Our customer base has shrunk so much, now that people are not coming through town.”

Current taxable value set for the restaurant building and land totals $341,180. Cielec has asked that it be reduced to $255,863. Taxable value is 35 percent of appraised value.

The Athens County Board of Revision is scheduled to meet Monday.

Eliason said sales figures are a factor the board can consider for commercial real estate.

“We’ll have to listen to what they have to say,” Eliason said.

“They have to prove that our value is wrong,” Thompson explained. “That is the burden of anyone who comes to the board of revision. ... We don’t know what evidence they will present at the hearing.”

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