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Peoria City Council Reviews Economic Development Tool

The city of Peoria has many economic development tools for attracting business.

Council members over the weekend spent three hours discussing the guiding principles for their use. Most of that time was reviewing Special Service Areas, or SSAs.

They are used to deliver services to a specific area that shouldn’t be provided with general taxes. SSAs can be funded through property, sales or hotel tax increases on an individual property or a group of businesses.

Councilman Sid Ruckriegel says it would be best if initial implementation of S-S-As is based on increased property taxes, not sales taxes.

“I think for the citizen of Peoria and the taxpayers and also for those who would be utilizing that business, they need to know there’s some skin in the game from the property owner prior to asking for or requesting a sales tax SSA, says Ruckriegel.

City manager Patrick urich says that can be a challenge because Illinois already has a high property tax rate.

“When you add an additional property tax on top of the current property tax load that people have to pay, it gets to be pretty pricey. But if the benefits of it can be explained as to why you want to use this type of development tool then there’s an opportunity to utilize that,” says Urich.

The council did not establish specific guidelines for S-S-As but rather gave general guidance to city staff on their future use.

Property tax S-S-As have been used at Weaver Ridge subdivision for roads, at Westlake Shopping Center for a parking lot and at Junction City for a new intersection at Knoxville Avenue.