What's an SSA (Special Service Area)?
A Special Service Area (SSA) and a Special Assessment (SA) are two types of financing tools that can affect a community home owner.
An SSA is a way to finance a subdivisions' continuing maintenance costs by allowing the subdivision itself to pay for the costs instead of the Village as a whole or a Homeowner's Association. The amount is added to each property's tax bill and is only for the cost of the maintenance of the subdivisions public service areas such as storm water basins, landscaping, etc. The cost to the individual is much less than a SA, Special Assessment. It is not a fixed amount and cannot be paid off as the maintenance is a continuing cost.
Neighborhoods that will have an SSA established to provide for maintenance of common storm water basin areas or as specified in the original approval of the development plans. Villages usually establish SSA's for new neighborhoods by ordinance. Activation of an SSA will take place after the Village has certainty that the development will be ready in the next calendar year. Once accepted, the Developer/HOA discontinues maintenance and turns it over to the Village. The Village will then activate the Special Service Area and collect fees from residents on their tax bills. When an SSA is activated for a development, the tax the residents pay toward the SSA will only be used for that SSA and any surplus will be put in a reserve fund for future use for that neighborhood only.
A Special Assessment (SA) is similar to a second mortgage. SA's are used to fund much of the costs of the public infrastructure construction costs such as lights, sidewalks and roads. They payments are usually much higher than an SSA and it can be paid off early. It also has a predetermined amortization schedule with annual payments that increase in amount over a long period of time.