Hanover Park calls him "TIF Man," a superhero powered by the ability to grant incentives to developers willing to build in the village.
The radio ads chronicle his adventures as he tried to funnel business toward Hanover Park to help create a vibrant downtown area. The ads end with the tag line: "Hanover Park: Where you want to be."
"These are tough times and (businesses) want to know that they're not out there alone," Hanover Park Village President Rod Craig said. "So when I say partnership, I'm sincere in Hanover Park providing leadership."
The radio ads running for six months at a cost of $171,400 are part of a larger effort to draw development to Hanover Park. On Thursday, the village invited businesses and developers to a bus tour showing off prime spots for development.
At least seven developers showed up. They asked village officials what incentives they qualify for and how they could benefit if the Elgin-O'Hare Expressway is extended to the airport, Craig said.
A TIF, a tax-increment financing district, is a tool municipalities use for redevelopment purposes for so-called "blighted areas." As an area is redeveloped, the increased property tax revenue is used to pay part of the redevelopment costs. But as TIF Man should know, with great power, there comes great responsibility. Opponents criticize TIFs as misued tax breaks that don't always generate development, but that divert taxes from bodies like school and library districts.
Hanover Park has four TIFs, with one scheduled to expire at the end of the year.
The village wants developers to use the money that is available in the TIFs, as when they expire the money goes back to the taxing bodies.
TIFs, which typically last 23 years, aren't the only ways the village can help businesses. The village can negotiate to lower certain permit fees and enter into a sales-tax sharing agreement, up to a .25 percentage point. Patrick Grill, community development director for the village, said the latter inducement has only been granted to businesses generating $35 million in annual sales.
One businessman who took the tour was Piyush K. Patel, owner of Spring Wine and Spirits. He said he learned a lot and he's looking at a couple properties within the village.
"Maybe if it's the right price and everything I can buy it, and reface everything and use the TIF money on it," Patel said.