The City of Naperville has a successful revenue stream called the SECA (Special Events And Cultural Amenities) program funded by a food and beverage tax. It was established in 2004 and the fund was capped at $1.9 million. From that, $1.1 million is funneled for city obligations including Fourth of July fireworks, Riverwalk maintenance, the municipal band, DuPage Children’s Museum debt, Carillon maintenance, with a portion towards NDP (Naperville Development Partnership) funding. The remaining $800,000 is allocated through grants to numerous projects requesting funding including the Last Fling and Rib Fest, among many others. In 2018, 62 projects are seeking SECA money.
Getting money into the program is easy through the food and beverage tax. Getting money out of the fund is not quite so easy, for those requesting the grants, and for those determining who gets what and how much. With more and more groups asking for grants, and more and more groups wanting more and more dollars, it can get tricky. That makes for more and more groups feeling either left out, or short changed. More and more and more is the common denominator.
Two options include giving more dollars to fewer groups, or giving fewer dollars to more groups. A third option is to request that groups asking for grants ante up more dollars on their part. In other words, putting more ‘skin into the game’. There are only so many dollars to go around, so sooner or later the guidelines and requirements need to change. It appears sooner has arrived.