What is an SSA?
Special Service Areas (SSAs) are mechanisms through which contiguous industrial, commercial, and residential areas fund expanded services and programs through a localized property tax levy. In plainspeak, SSAs give property owners the ability to invest in their neighborhood according to their specific needs.
Often called Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) in other cities, SSAs are used to pay for things like business area marketing, cleaning-and-greening, façade rehabilitation, etc. The City of Chicago contracts local non-profits (“Service Providers”) to manage 53 SSAs and provide supplementary services to Chicago residents. Mayorally-appointed SSA Commissioners (who must own property within their SSA) guide resources and propose annual services, budgets, and Service Provider agencies to the City for approval.