James Anderson, who owns a self-storage facility and a car dealership in Dundee, Ill., recently received $108,167 in village grants to offset the cost of improvements he made to both properties last year. Anderson applied for the grants in 2015, but didn’t receive compensation from the village’s commercial façade-improvement program until trustees voted this week to approve the funding. The money was paid through tax increment financing (TIF) funds, according to the source.
Exterior renovations to Superior Self Storage at 888 Richardson Road and Superior Car Credit at 777 Dundee Ave. included new pavement, gutters and lighting. About $75,000 in grants went to the car dealership, while the remainder went to the storage facility, the source reported.
The village staff had accepted Anderson's proposal two years ago, but the board never reviewed the projects or voted to award the grant money, the source reported. Although a former village employee agreed to reimburse Anderson for half of the renovation costs, the approval process and proposed renovations weren’t in line with the program’s guidelines, said Lael Miller, village president. "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."
New applications for the façade-improvement program aren’t being accepted pending a revamp of the program to improve its management. However, the village’s 2018 budget includes TIF funds for previously authorized grants. "What I can do is promise this isn't going to happen again," Miller 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."
Anderson operates a second Superior Self Storage facility in Rockford, Ill. Both properties offer vehicle storage, U-Haul truck rentals, and moving and packing supplies.