Scott Coleman, owner of Cowboy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers and More, lost his petition to the city during the regular council meeting Tuesday via Zoom. Coleman was asking to rent a space in the parking lot at the intersection of West Adams and South Elm streets for a year to operate his food truck in the uptown district.
Council member Matt Levine offered a solution where Coleman would pay $500 a month or $6,000 a year to occupy the space, equating it to the property taxes paid by restaurants in the area.
A search of Beacon, the state website listing property values and taxes, reveals buildings housing restaurants and bars in the area pay as little as $1,096 up to $4,866 per year in property tax. These commercial buildings also include second floor apartments.
Coleman argued that his $18,000 trailer should not face the same fees as a $100,000 or more business.
“I can’t afford to pay a lot,” he said. “Mr. Levine, you want me to pay property tax. I’ll tell you what you do: you figure out what the property tax would be for one year on $18,000 worth of property.”
Council member Brenda Lyell-Keate said the fee should be more consistent with the number of people served.
“A&G can hold how many people?,” she asked. “How many people can he do in a day? You have to compromise. You have to be fair to the businesses.”
Council member Rich Madison said the council should not set a precedent of allowing the rental of city property to for-profit businesses.
Council member Terry Freeman said the precedent was set previously when the council did not allow the Little Green Trailer to use city property.
The council voted 6 to 1 to deny the application with Brenda Lyell-Keate as the sole yes vote.