Local governments often get requests from residents for localized
public improvements that fall outside the scope of yearly budgeted
projects the community has planned for. To help fund these localized
improvement requests, the property owners can become part of a Special
Service Area (SSA), which is a legal mechanism used to fund projects for
contiguous residential properties through a local property tax levy.
Through a Special Service Area, the property owner pays back the
community for the project work over a predetermined amount of time
through an additional fee on their yearly property tax bill. To help
track these areas, the City of Des Plaines IL asked the city’s GIS
(Geographic Information System) Department to locate each SSA so maps
could be quickly generated showing the improvement areas.
Using a list of active and proposed SSAs provided by the city’s
Engineering Department, the GIS Department was able to locate and map
each area using the city’s existing parcel and address data. With this
information added to the GIS system, maps of specific SSAs can be
generated and included in things such as city council packets and
departmental reports for reference. Also, since payment for these
improvements is based on property taxes, having the parcel data linked
to the SSA integrates the county PIN (Property Identification Number)
with the SSA designation, allowing the city Finance Department to
accurately track all SSA related fees.
Using GIS to assist with tracking Special Service Areas provides a
quick, easy-to-understand reference tool for multiple departments that
can be applied to numerous applications.