EAST VILLAGE — Neighbors and business owners gathered at Leona's Restaurant Monday night to express their opposition over a special taxing district.
"Taxpayers are saying that they don't want more good money being spent on bad projects," said Gladys Anselmo, a local property owner.
The strip of Damen Avenue between Augusta Street and Division Street is scheduled to be included in a reconstituted special taxing district, Special Service Area 57. The plan calls for the special district to last 15 years and include more area in the district, collecting taxes from residential and commercial property owners on thoroughfares such as Damen, Ashland, Chicago and Grand.
The SSA 57 fund is projected to be $526,956 based on a 2013 budget that is overseen by volunteer commissioners and managed by the West Town Chamber of Commerce.
About 10 neighbors gathered at Leona's Restaurant Monday night, following an East Village Association board meeting to formulate their strategy for today's city hall hearing on the SSA expansion and reconstitution.
PIN numbers — the code that the Cook County assessors' office uses to identify parcels of land — are important to Pranica and a team of 10 residents who are rallying to try to fight the reconstitution SSA 57.
If the city’s finance committee approves at 10 a.m., extending the life of the taxing district will be voted on by the City Council on Oct. 31. There will be a 60-day window during which property owners will have an opportunity to oppose the measure. A 51 percent majority of property owners within the district will be required to stop its reconstitution.
"We have the majority of support, accounting for 120 property owners on the [Damen]," said Anselmo, who oppoes the measure.
By Anselmo’s estimate, there are 1,700 pieces of property in the SSA 57. The group wants to get at least 900 property owners to sign the petition against the district.
The West Town special service area was originally established in November 2004, as an SSA 29, to pay for things such as facade improvements, public art, street maintenance, street pole banners, planning, marketing, landscaping, snow removal and holiday decorations. The proposal from the West Town Chamber of Commerce is to expand the boundaries and extend the life of the taxing district, in a new SSA 57.