Friday, September 26, 2014

Support Uptown's SSA #34

Uptown United -- the organization that manages the programs of Uptown's SSA -- has been told by the City of Chicago's Department of Planning & Development that we MUST have a strong show of support in order to renew or reconstitute the Special Service Area!

Special Service Areas are local tax districts that fund expanded services and programs through a localized property tax levy within contiguous areas. The enhanced services and programs are in addition to those currently provided through the City.

The support of property owners in the district is KEY!

If you live OR own property within any of the highlighted areas above, please visit this link and register your support!


  1. What specifically does this SSA do for our community? I'm not trying to pick a fight, I just legitimately want to know. Are they the ones who put out the planters, plants, and the bike racks?

  2. How do you register opposition, or vote against this proposal?

  3. Why would anyone support this? " localized property tax levy within contiguous areas"

  4. Why support this? Because that's the way it is. Do you like clean sidewalks? Snow shoveled off of those sidewalks? The street pole banners and the Pride banners? The identifier bike racks? How about the Argyle Night Market? Think the planter boxes look nice? Think filling and maintaining the plants inside these boxes is free?

    Welcome to Chicago. All of this and more is paid for with the SSA. Managed and operated by the property owners that are SSA commissioners too. If you like living in a neighborhood that has these things, research. You will find that you are in a neighborhood that has an SSA.

    None of this stuff is free, but it is all very cheap. The actual amount levied on your property probably increases your home value by thousands while only costing pennies! This is an SSA and not to be confused with a TIF. Every dollar gets spent right back into your neighborhood. Any resident that has been here longer than ten years has to remember the trash the flew around the street. The empty cans and bottles that littered our entire neighborhood. The gum filled sidewalks. The snow that stayed un-shoveled for an entire winter in front of vacant store fronts. The trash cans overflowing all week. All of that is gone now, thanks to the SSA.

    You don't have to do anything to register opposition or vote against this proposal. You do have to do something if you want these services to continue. You must own property in the proposed area and click on the link to vote in favor of keeping these services. It's simple to do and senseless not to! Unless you like living in the Uptown of ten years ago.

    I would like to personally thank the residents of ten years ago for getting this approved. You had the vision to see that the future of Uptown needed something like this. And you truly had a vision because what we presented to you ten years ago was a bag of promises. Today the proof is right in front of everyone's eyes. Between the cleanliness of Uptown of ten years ago to the artists and their supported arts. An end to the SSA is an opening to the dark ages of ten years ago.

    Please, vote to support the SSA.

    Any questions can be directed to Wally Rozak at 773 878-6850
    Fell free to call me on my cell at 773-972-5619
    Paul Collurafici

    1. I co-sign on ALL OF THIS! Thank u for bringing some much needed perspective to this discussion.

    2. Paul and Wally,

      Thanks for providing some context to the lackluster, biased, and uninformative post by the Update. The City needs to do a better job of being forthright about this type of shadow tax.

      Personally, banners and flower boxes are not a compelling enough reason for me to pay an additional tax. Where I live in Uptown the snow on the sidewalks and garbage and littering is still rampant. Seems like BS to me to let the condo owners foot the bill. Why not tax the businesses for this kind of thing? At a minimum the burden should be a shared one, especially considering how many people in our community live here via subsidies and don't pitch in a cent, yet contribute to the waste we're all trying to remove.

      What the Alderman should do is focus on ticketing offenders and using that money to pay for this cosmetic stuff. Think of the money that could be made by policing those that don't shovel and those buildings that house the majority of those littering on the streets? Let's start by holding people accountable.

    3. First off, ticketing people will fill the city coffer with money, not Uptown.
      As far as business paying into the SSA, they do. If they do not own and rent instead, landlords usually pass the cost of taxes on to the lessee in the terms of the rent.
      Pierre Whiting, I don't know where you live. Are you even in the SSA boundaries? If so, why not call Wally yourself and find out why your area is not up to par. You still have about a week to let them know.
      To anyone else in the SSA area, please vote. It takes a second and you will not regret it. If not, it really is good bye to the clean Uptown. Sorry, it's that simple.

  5. HurlyBurly; if what you want to do is vote NO, you already have. To continue the SSA a tally of YES votes is required.

    Which brings up a very good point! Doing nothing is a NO vote. If you want these services to continue you must do something and do it now, vote YES. Doing nothing is a no vote to a cleaner Uptown. Pretty simple. The burden of proof is on the SSA to gather enough signatures to continue.

  6. Taxation WITHOUT representation - nice that by registering a few letters of support the entire community gets stuck with a tax bill. Was reading some of the facebook feedback - some condo owners paying an ADDITIONAL $1,300 a year. That's a lot of pennies and some expensive planters!

  7. I'm glad this was brought up during a reconstitution, as I feel this is a good time to shine a brighter light on this secret, shady, hidden tax. I think an investigative reporter at one of the papers or TV stations could get a good story on another way property owners get fleeced. Think your property taxes are high? Well find yourself in an expanded SSA and facing an extra $100 plus per month! Nevermind you had no public vote on the matter, this secret tax is levied on the shoulders of hardworking Chicago families to subsidize what the city should already be doing. I can just see the reporter finding some fixed income family forced to lose their home because they can't afford this sucker punch tax hit. I'm sure they'll make out fine though since this cheap tax surely increased the resale value on the home by thousands! TV Gold!

  8. The approximate budget for the SSA is $600,000 per year. Perhaps Paul C can elaborate more on the cost to individual condo owners. It seems unlikely to me that ANY condo owner pays $1300 a year. Perhaps the FB poster meant the cost to his entire building?

    I refuse to hyperlink HurlyBurly because your tone annoys me. Now if you were more like Donovan's "Hurdy Gurdy Man" I might hyperlink. Or not.

    As for the SSA I support it. I recall the mess on Uptown streets before it began and they do a good job. I actually wouldn't mind if their "purview" were expanded by ordinance to include snow removal for ANY Uptown property that doesn't shovel their snow within a reasonable time period after a storm. Then bill the non snow shoveling property owners.

  9. An owner of a property with an EAV of $100,000 in this SSA will pay an additional $233 in property taxes during 2011. EAV was about 2.8 times your assessed value last time around.

    Now using that as a rough basis and plugging in the multiplier minus the number of nipples on Arnold Ziffle from "Green Acres" tells me that a condo owner in a real value $250,000 condo would likely pay an additional $150 per year.

    Are there any 2 million dollar individual condos around here? No. Actually increasing the size of the SSA district and spreading the administrative costs between more property owners should result in a lower cost per property owner.

    Now I don't live within the boundaries of the current or proposed SSA. I am so very close though. Now since I maintain my house and shovel my sidewalks having ot pay into the SSA would annoy me. However, if I were recognizing the greater good and the benefit to the neighborhood and my property value I would only whine a little bit. Then I'm a humanitarian that way.

  10. HurlyBurly, call Wally Rozak at 773 878-6850. He is the person that could answer all of your questions best. I own two properties in the SSA area. I feel it is worth every penny. You may disagree, but first... get the facts and make an informed opinion.

  11. The City of Chicago is wiling to discontinue a practice fro which the Inspector General has issued a report stating that it is corrupt and unfair to local taxpayers and Uptown United along with Uptown Update wants you support it? What the heck!!!!!

    The report shows that when an SSA overlaps a TIF district, the taxpayer pays not only the voluntary fee for the extra services that the SSA provides, but also an unknown extra TIF tax. It all has to do with how the TIF tax base is calculated for your property taxes. SO, when one agrees to fund SSA 34 one also agrees to pay extra into the Wilson TIF. How many people around here think that is a good idea????

    Uptown United, no doubt, knows this, But do you? They could correct the problem by restricting the SSA to the non-TIF area, but instead they are expanding it into additional TIF areas making the unfairness to the local taxpayers worse, not better. The TIF could be used to provide services in that area, but then Uptown United's funding would be reduced and they wouldn't like that now, would they.,

    Read the Inspector General report online:

    And, by the way, shame on you Uptown United. And, Uptown Update, what were you thinking!!!!