Of the three large businesses that collectively asked the city of Belfast for $3.4 million in tax abatements last year, two have since given up their appeals. But one applicant, Ocean State Job Lot, is holding firm to its claims and recently filed for a second year.

Last March, the Rhode Island-based discount retailer, doing business as OSJ of Belfast LLC, filed for a $917,000 abatement on the company’s 46,800-square-foot Starrett Drive store, then valued by the city at $2.2 million.

The abatement request cited an independent appraisal in April 2010 that determined a just/market value of $1,575,000 for the property and building. Based on the city’s assessment rate of 82 percent, OSJ argued that the value of the property should be $1.29 million.

“It’s about as simple a factual dispute as you can get,” said Eaton Peabody attorney Erik Stumpfel, who is representing OSJ in the abatement case. “We think the property’s overvalued based on the appraisal.”

City Assessor Robert Whitely said Jan. 6 that he denied the abatement request based in part on financial statements from the company that he said lacked detail and showed what he regarded as suspiciously low revenue from the store.

For further comment, he directed VillageSoup to the city attorney William Kelly. A call to Kelly’s office was not immediately returned.

Stumpfel said Whitely was sometimes vague about what he wanted from OSJ, but that the company complied with the city’s numerous requests for financial information, including income from the store, which he said is not legally relevant to the appeal.

In income-based assessments, he said, “the court cases are very clear, you don’t want to give either a premium or a penalty to a particular property. If you have a management that is very good … you don’t want to whack them with more taxes. And the reverse, if the management is very poor so they’re not making money on the property where someone else normally would, you don’t want to give them a tax abatement on that basis.”

OSJ appealed Whitely’s decision to Belfast’s Board of Assessment Review. The board deemed the question of whether OSJ had complied with the requests for financial information out of its jurisdiction, Stumpfel said, so OSJ appealed to the State Board of Property Tax Review in November. As of Jan. 6, a date for a hearing had not been set, he said.

VillageSoup left messages for the Maine Board of Assessment Review on Jan. 6 to confirm the status of the case, but did not immediately hear back.

In the meantime, OSJ has submitted a new abatement request, received by the city on Jan. 4, pertaining to taxes levied on the property in 2011. Whitely said he had not read the request in detail but said he believes the company is seeking the same tax reduction for a second year.

Last year’s abatement request from OSJ was notable as one of three from major businesses in the city.

At that time, Harbor Hill Center, a subsidiary of Genesis HealthCare Corp., requested a $2.18 million abatement on its assisted living facility, owned by Sandy River Company, then assessed at $5.18 million. Whitely said Harbor Hill missed one of the periodic deadlines to continue its appeal.

Belfast Holdings LLC, owner of the Belfast Plaza on Main Street, requested a $333,700 abatement on the property, which includes several retail spaces and a parking lot, then valued by the city at $1.33 million. Whitely said the company hired independent appraisers and subsequently withdrew its abatement request.