"I Want Out!" Is the city scamming a local business owner?

By: Joe Gagnon Email
By: Joe Gagnon Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - What would you think if you had to pay an extra $1,000 a year in taxes and it was actually hurting your business?

Local restaurant owner Jeff Leany says he has been forced to do that for the past five years and he wants out.

For five years, the Pufferbelly Restaurant has had to pay thousands of dollars in taxes because they were told they are a part of the Downtown Business Improvement District.

However, they claim they aren't even in downtown Grand Junction, and not a cent has gone to help their area at the corner of 1st Street and Pitkin Avenue.

Now, they want to get out of a situation they say they never agreed to, but the Improvement District has denied them every step of the way.

"They beautify everything else and we're putting all of this money in it," Leany says. "And we're getting zero in return. It's not right."

Grand Junction City Councilwoman Bonnie Beckstein says Leany should sit tight and that things should improve near his building, including a revamping of the AmTrak station next door.

Nothing, however, is planned in the near future and certainly not in the next two years.

Leany says the most frustrating part of it is he is forced to pay the taxes and if his money is going to attractions on Main Street and elsewhere, that he says he is actually paying to drive people away from his business.

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