The Special Service Area (SSA) is an economic development tool, created by state statute and city ordinance, which allows extra real estate property taxes to be collected to fund added services for a defined area. It is the only taxing body in which property owners choose to be assessed and have direct decision-making authority on the use of those funds.
SSA taxpayers cooperatively plan, provide, benefit from, and pay for services within their own area. SSA-funded services focus on the public way and are in addition to services generally provided by the City.
SSAs exist throughout the USA, as well as in other parts of the world, and are more commonly known as Business Improvement Districts (BIDs). There have been more than 50 SSAs within the City of Chicago and 800 nationwide.