A Moline property owner is questioning the establishment of a Special Service Area in Moline's Olde Towne.
The Moline City Council is holding a 6:30 p.m. public hearing Tuesday about the proposed SSA in the council chambers on the second floor of city hall, 619 16th St.
In an SSA, property owners pay additional property tax that can be spent only within the district boundaries. The proposed Olde Towne SSA would encompass 7th Street from 12th to 19th avenues and 18th Avenue from 7th to 10th streets.
If established, Olde Towne property owners within the SSA would pay 75 cents more per $100 of assessed value starting Jan. 1.
Kathleen Jourdan, owner of Columbia Decorating, 1715 9th St., said she commends anyone who makes an effort to improve an area. But she said the money would be spent on 7th Street, with everyone in the district subsidizing improvements to those businesses.
"I am just not pleased with the process going on," she said. "It is very unfair.
"It is not only the money, it is the way the city is going at this," she said. "There is no plan, and that is a totally irresponsible way to use funds from other people, to collect money with no idea how to spend it or what the benefits would be."
If the SSA is established, a board of local property and business owners would be formed and recommend how to spend the money, said Rebecca Gall, Moline's historic preservation specialist. She said property and business owners were invited to seven meetings the past year on the future of Olde Towne, noting a report created after one session -- focusing on the challenges, treasures and visions for the area -- would guide the SSA board.
Improvements would be made to the entire district and benefit the entire boundary, she said.
"If you look at the downtown SSA, things happened in phases with the finances available in a given year," Ms. Gall said. "However, the plan includes the entire SSA boundary."
Money from the downtown SSA has funded streetscaping 5th Avenue after its reconstruction, promotions, a summer concert series and upkeep within the district, such as summer plantings and a litter service.
Last month, Ms. Gall said the total levy for the proposed Olde Towne SSA is expected to be $43,555. The average single-family property owner would pay about $236 more in property tax annually; the average commercial property owner would pay $643 more annually.
Ms. Jourdan said even $50 more a month in property taxes can be a hit to smaller businesses. She said property owners and tenants within the proposed SSA oppose it, with about 30 people signing a petition against it.
State statute requires 51 percent of property owners who are registered voters and 51 percent of registered voters living within the district to state opposition against a proposed SSA or it can be formed by city council action.
Ms. Gall said she knows there is a lot of interest and desire to see change in Olde Towne.
"People feel strongly about it, and, certainly, we want to take into consideration all views, to hear from all property owners," she said. "That is why this public hearing is very important."
Today is Wednesday, March 12, the 71st day of 2014. There are 294 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: Soldiers from the barracks on the Arsenal manage to elude the vigilance of the guard nearly every day and come to town armed. In the hands of excited and perhaps intoxicated men, these weapons are dangerous. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Manufacturing's merchants and professional men of Moline were petitioning the Western Union Telegraph company to establish a telegraph office in the business area of the city. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Three Rock Island students, the Misses Eleanor Cleaveland, Dorothy McCabe and Ruth West, escaped injury when fire destroyed College Hall at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. 1939 -- 75 years ago: The Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War gave a party for William H. Stremmel, the only survivor of John Buford Post 243, GAR. 1964 -- 50 years ago: The East Moline Grade School Board of Education last night granted salary increases totaling about $47,000 to teachers and staff members. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Five champion spellers from the Rock Island/Milan School district were selected after competition this week at Modern Woodmen of America. Winners are Sarah Cottay, Christopher Gilbrich, Jared Vogele, Kedric Roper and Kenny Stevenson.