DevCorp North is planning to raise property taxes in east Rogers Park by creating two new "special service areas" (SSAs). Tommy FitzGibbon, an active member of the Board of Directors of DevCorp North, made the announcement at a community meeting at Boone School on Thursday, June 22. "We have two SSAs in east Rogers Park, and we are planning two more," FitzGibbon told neighbors.
An SSA is a special property tax district earmarked to fund so-called "community development corporations." Since first implemented on State Street, the Daley administration's Department of Planning and Development has been agressively using SSAs to migrate "community development corporations" and "chambers of commerce" from a membership-funded model to a publicly subsidized property-tax funded model.
The two new SSAs planned for east Rogers Park will bring to 4 the total number of special property tax districts in east Rogers Park established to fund the operation of DevCorp North. The two planned SSAs would join the Howard-Paulina SSA (#19) and the Morse-Clark-Glenwood SSA (#24) in funding DevCorp North.
DevCorp North's ambitious expansion plan for their taxation districts will put DevCorp North firmly in the lead City-wide in terms of the number of special property tax districts they control. DevCorp North and the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce are currently tied for first place in the Chicago property tax subsidy derby at 2 SSAs apiece. DevCorp North narrowly avoided being bumped into 2nd place this spring when the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce was rebuffed by area businesses in their attempt to establish a third SSA for themselves (on Clybourn Ave!), which would have put them in sole control of the lead.
The announcement comes amid increasing concerns from the community regarding accountability for the property taxes collected and the effectiveness of DevCorp North, and shortly after a recent study of SSAs which documented the failure of SSAs in Chicago in promoting retail.
Under terms of a secret endowment plan negotiated by Alderman Joe Moore, DevCorp North owns a 5% share of the limited liability company (Combined-Development Howard LLC) that owns the publicly subsidized Gateway Mall.