SECA Frustrations

Since 2004, local not-for-profits have been able to throw their hat in the ring for SECA, the special events and cultural amenities fund provided by the city to these groups, using cash from Naperville’s 1% food and beverage tax.

But at a recent city council workshop, lawmakers wondered if it might be time for some changes in policy.

“What we’re doing or kind of talking about process and rules and, uh, with so many new members of council we want to give everybody the opportunity to really take ownership of the rules and make these rules your own,” said City Manager Doug Kriger.

Part of that process is alleviating some of the past frustrations, created when rules aren’t properly followed.

“I’ll bring up kind of three, three general areas that that frustration existed – one of those was for travel outside of Naperville that had previously been prohibited, one was the paying of direct salaries or rent, and the third was really allowing requesters to go directly to city council and kind of bypassing the advisory committee,” he added.

Members of that advisory committee were on hand to voice their additional concerns, one of which was the shaving down of the $1.9 million worth of available monies, after taking out predetermined funds for existing agreements and city costs.

“So the final number, $496,464.27, that the advisory cultural commission can comfortably adjust based on the $3.9 million of requests that are coming in. It is a significant difference between the amount of money that can be moved and the amount of money that’s requested to support what makes our city great,” said Chad Pedigo, Commissioner on the SECA Board.

All these concerns were noted by Council, who will be discussing them further at future meetings. But for now, they hope changes put into place for this year will help at least streamline the process. Those include having the application entirely online, and making attendance of one of the SECA workshops mandatory for applicants.

Looking ahead, the committee hopes to create a metrics system to help determine which events are more successful or sustainable, thus giving them more weight in the allocation process.

Naperville News 17’s Evan Summers Reports.

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