Property owners protest valuations |

Property owners protest valuations

McDonald's owner says new assessment will cost him $10,000 in taxes

Brandon Johnson

The assessed value of the McDonald’s Restaurant in Craig has gone up from $312,990 in 2003 to $777,891 in 2004, an increase of more than 150 percent.

In that time, the restaurant underwent a major renovation, but didn’t add any square footage.

McDonald’s owner Chris Nichols said he knows his building is worth a lot more now than it was two years ago, but he doesn’t think it’s worth $450,000 more.

“When a property valuation changes by more than $450,000 in one assessment period, that raises some concerns in my mind,” Nichols said.

Property taxes are based on assessed valuations.

Nichols protested the valuation to the Moffat County Board of Equalization Tuesday, arguing that his property on West Victory Way is worth $503,964.

The board, which is made up of the three Moffat County commissioners, agreed that the original assessment was too high, but didn’t agree with Nichols’ assessment.

The commissioners unanimously agreed to lower the McDonald’s valuation to $720,000.

Moffat County Assessor Suzanne Brinks said Wednesday she thought the commissioners made the right decision in Nichols’ case.

The commissioners heard six assessment protests Tuesday, rejecting one and lowering two, including McDonald’s.

Three other property owners had already reached an agreement with Brinks before the commissioners heard the case.

Nichols said Wednesday he is considering appealing the valuation to the state board of appeals. The valuation will cost Nichols $10,000 more in property taxes than he paid last year.

Nichols said the property valuation is unfair because it assesses fast food restaurants at a higher rate than other restaurants.

But John Zimmerman, the appraiser the county contracted to assess commercial property, said fast-food restaurants need to be classified different than sit-down restaurants.

“What we’re trying to do is get fair market value on all property,” Zimmerman said. “We don’t want to overvalue anybody.”

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