East Dundee releases TIF money to help fund building makeovers

An East Dundee business owner will receive $108,167 in village grants to help offset the cost of facade improvements to two properties.

New pavement, gutters and lights were among the exterior renovations completed last year at Superior Car Credit at 777 Dundee Ave. and Superior Self Storage at 888 Richardson Road, according to documents submitted by owner James Anderson.

A former village employee had initially signed off on reimbursing Anderson for half the project costs as part of East Dundee's commercial facade improvement program, Village Administrator Jennifer Johnsen said. Those funds, however, were never distributed.

To fulfill the village's promise to Anderson, trustees this week unanimously approved releasing the matching grants for both projects, paid for through tax increment financing funds. About $75,000 went to Superior Car Credit, and $33,167 was allotted to Superior Self Storage.

Village President Lael Miller said the process for which the two projects were chosen to receive grants went against the program's guidelines.

Anderson applied for the program in August 2015, asking for help updating his facilities and making his storage business more desirable, according to village documents. Though staff accepted Anderson's proposal, the village board never had an opportunity to review the projects or vote on awarding him the grant money.

"The business owner was told this was approved and everything was going to go through, and the village promised him that. I can't undo that," Miller said. "We have to make (him) whole on this."

Trustee Jeff Lynam added some of the upgrades made to Superior Self Storage didn't entirely meet the program's qualifications, such as being able to see the improvements from the road.

Though the facade program is on hold, East Dundee's fiscal year 2018 budget includes TIF funds for some projects, including Anderson's, that were authorized to receive a grant. Miller said the program will be revamped to improve how it's managed before accepting more applications.

"What I can do is promise this isn't going to happen again," he said. "We're going to clean up our policies and regulations, and from now on anything like this would have to go to the board for approval."

  A $75,000 matching grant awarded to Superior Car Credit by East Dundee will go toward the business' recent exterior upgrades, which include new pavement and lighting. Brian Hill/
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