Rock Island extends SSA public hearing to seek more input

Rock island

To ensure that more property owners are aware of a public hearing on the establishment of a downtown Rock Island special services area (SSA), aldermen readjusted the approval process at a meeting Monday, Oct. 17.

The public hearing on the SSA originally had been scheduled for Monday, Oct. 24, but after mailing notices to property owners within the proposed SSA and submitting a notice for publication in a local newspaper, city staff said they encountered issues with returned notices and posting delays.

“Out of an abundance of caution, staff are recommending that the public hearing be adjourned (not closed) on October 24 and then continued on November 14,” according to the recommendation from Miles Brainard, community & economic development director. “This will ensure that property owners are appropriately notified and have time to prepare responses and offer public comment on the proposed SSA.”

According to the city’s legal team, the revised timeline complies with the statute and that the continuance of the hearing across two city council meetings is a reasonable precaution. 

Among the special services the property owners in the area could potentially pay to receive under a new SSA are: litter pickup, maintenance of flower plantings, hospitality assistance for visitors, district signage, branding and marketing activities and supplemental business assistance programs. Such special taxing districts are common in both Illinois and Iowa and are used to support commercial corridors and downtown areas.

The proposed special assessment for the Rock Island SSA is 1.15% of equalized assessed value (EAV) of a property within the SSA boundaries. The city council approved the initiating ordinance on Monday, Aug. 22, to get the process started and launched a 60-day public comment period. 

The Nov. 14 meeting continuation also caused additional date changes for the SSA approval process. The new schedule is:

  • Monday, Oct. 24: Public hearing is opened and then adjourned. 
  • Monday, Nov. 14: Public hearing continues and is then closed. 
  • Tuesday, Nov. 15: 60-day objection petition period begins.
  • Monday, Nov. 21: Establishing ordinance has first reading and is considered.
  • Monday, Dec. 12: Establishing ordinance has second reading and is passed.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 13: If the establishing ordinance is passed, it will be recorded with Rock Island County. 
  • Friday, Jan. 13: 60-day objection petition period ends. 

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