Government

Proposed new service area would fund Downtown Wheaton Association

Public hearing on special service area scheduled for Sept. 10

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A proposed new special service area that would help fund the Downtown Wheaton Association is moving ahead. At their July 2 meeting, Wheaton City Council members unanimously approved an ordinance establishing the creation of special service area 8. According to the ordinance, some or all of the revenue generated from the special service area will be collected to directly fund activities of the Downtown Wheaton Association.[]

WHEATON – A proposed new special service area that would help fund the Downtown Wheaton Association is moving ahead.

At their July 2 meeting, Wheaton City Council members unanimously approved an ordinance establishing the creation of special service area 8. According to the ordinance, some or all of the revenue generated from the special service area will be collected to directly fund activities of the Downtown Wheaton Association.

The Downtown Wheaton Association is a nonprofit group whose mission is to "maximize business opportunities and foster pride in historic downtown Wheaton." As proposed, special service area 8 would include the boundaries of the existing special service area 7, plus three apartment complexes – Wheaton Center, Wheaton 121 and the Courthouse Square Apartments.

The maximum property tax rate for the new special service area would be 52 cents per $100 of assessed value. Special service area 7 was approved by the City Council in December 2011, and it expired in December 2017.

Residents who would like to comment on the proposed special service area can do so during a public hearing Sept. 10. At its Dec. 17 meeting, the City Council is set to vote on a tax levy for the proposed special service area.

The Downtown Wheaton Association's Board of Directors is advocating for expanding the boundaries to include the three apartment complexes, but it doesn't want to see the tax rate increased from 45 cents to 52 cents as proposed.

The board sent the City Council a letter stating that "the originally proposed expansion of the boundaries to include the apartment complexes was intended to provide the city with additional SSA funds while potentially reducing the tax levy for all property owners within the new SSA boundaries."

"The board's consensus is that such an increase creates an even greater burden on the existing property owners within the current boundaries," the letter stated.

City Council members could choose to levy less than the proposed 52 cents per $100 of assessed value.