Naperville has an emergency. It’s not a spiking crime wave, or speeding vehicles, or J-walking; it’s not even overdue books at the library. It’s something far worse than any of those things; it’s artwork. Century Walk, through its president Brand Bobosky, wants more money for more artwork. You can’t blame Bobosky, it’s his job to get as much money as he can, as soon as he can, to get more artwork before there is a run on artwork, making artwork unavailable. Did I mention artwork? It would be like running out of water, or food, or sesame seeds. Not only does he need more money, he needs it yesterday, but today will do. All he had to do is convince five of nine city council members, To Bobosky’s credit, he did it in spectacular fashion. It was like cutting through soft butter with a hot knife.
Numerous speakers during the Public Forum portion of the meeting presented compelling reasons for the council to wait until the Century Walk task force presented a final report to the council, but it was obviously too much to ask; the five had already made up their minds to rush the decision. The five “lets-do-it now” council members included council members Patty Gustin, Paul Hinterlong, Paul Leong, Jennifer Bruzan Taylor, and Mayor Steve Chirico.
The one question that none of the five could answer was, why the rush? Why not wait for the report. Is artwork in Naperville truly an emergency. The five were utterly disrespectful to the members of the task force. Why should anybody ever volunteer to be part of a task force in Naperville, when their efforts go unrecognized and unappreciated.
Watch and listen to Brand Bobosky as he states, “this tax really works”. Of course it works, he outsmarted the council.
Now watch and listen to Dianne McGuire as he implores the council to ‘respect the process’ they created:
Watch and listen to Lucy Evans, former city council candidate as she points out possible “violation of IRS code”
Finally watch and listen to Melvin Kim as he makes a compelling case for ‘missing foundational process’:
Four Naperville city council members (Ian Holzhauer, Patrick Kelly, Teresa Sullivan, and Benny White) made a valiant effort to protect our tax dollars by exercising their fiduciary responsibility to all Naperville residents. The primary responsibility of the city council is to wisely oversee the City’s budget. Rushing decisions should never be part of the equation. Lack of planning on the council’s part, does not constitute an emergency for Naperville’s tax payers.
The only emergency Naperville ever had was stopping political elites/snobs from spending our versus their money!
Dianne McGuire is the last person I would listen to.
Chicago style is right!!! The Democrats on council try to ruin a good man, not because he’s done a bad job with art, but so they can take it over! Disgusting!!!
Century Walk has created art celebrating our police, our veterans, and our history. All things today’s left wing liberals despise. Thank you to Mayor Chirico and the councilmen whom voted to support Century Walk.
There are several issues with approving funds for the Century Walk under the City Obligations portion of SECA.
First they approved $150,000 per year for the next 3 years, but the Century Walk only has two art projects it is currently working on that requires less then $150,000 to finish. This means Century Walk was given $300,000 of funds to find someway to spend. Several years ago the reason Chirico an others gave for changing the SECA fund from getting 100% of the Food & Beverage tax,was because at $3 million it was creating a situation were SECA was having to find someway to spend these funds. Raising the concern that tax dollar, in this kind of situation, are not being spent responsibly and the first funding limit of $2.1 million for the SECA budget was establish (and since further reduced $1.9 million and CPI indexing remove for the same reason). How can it be wrong for SECA to have these kind of funds but okay for the Century Walk?
Second, because the SECA fund is currently limited to $1.9 million (with $950K before this vote and now $1.12 million after this vote going to city obligations) SECA has had to establish various criteria to apply to all grant requests to make sure these funds can best be spent serving the needs of the community. Some of these criteria were put in place when SECA was established – events must be held in Naperville, the event is held in the calendar year the grant is for and any potential financial conflict of interest by organization leadership be declared on the application. City council, a few years ago, add other criteria, namely – that grant funds can not be used for compensation for organization members, to pay for travel, be used for fund raising events or to provide social services (these are eligible for fund from a different city fund). Recently the SECA Commission added another requirement, no grant applicant should be considered for 100% funding. As a result of the uniform application of these requirements several organizations have seen their grant funding go from 100% to no more then 80% and in several cases zero. So the idea that Century Walks SECA grant funding went to zero because of some conspiracy against Century Walk by the SECA Commission is ludicrous. It simply means it is one of several organizations that have lost funding due to these requirements, almost all of which were put in place by the City Council with this very intent.
Third the vast majority of the SECA grant funds (the amount left after city obligation – $950K before vote now $780K) goes to paying for city services for these events. The city tells these event sponsors what city services they will be required to use and how much they will have to pay. So these costs make up most if not all the funding requested in their SECA Grants. As a result most of these funds go from the City’s SECA fund directly into the City’s General fund which is then used to fund city operations. This does not happen with SECA funds under city obligations. In fact little of any of these funds end up back in the city coffers.
Fourth a statement was made from the dais that it was appropriate to put Century Walk into City Obligations since it falls under capital spending. The fact is many of the events funded by SECA grants that make money (which they do not always do)is given to other organizations in the community to fund capital projects, like basketball courts, play grounds, parks, etc. In fact Rotary, Exchange Club, Jaycees, etc use all the money made from these events to provide grants to other organizations in our community to provide good and services to the community which are city amenities that improve the quality of life in our community.
Finally, most of the organizations that request SECA funding are to small to have the resources need to raise funds in any other way. SECA is their only chance for funding. Century Walk has for the last 25 years demonstrated consistently that it does have these resource and can raise the majority of the funding it needs using these other resources. Giving $150,000 a years to Century Walk means anywhere from a half a dozen to a dozen small organization will not get the funding needed for their events, which means they will not happen.
P.S. my biggest problem with this vote is procedural. Normally the city provides all the material relating to an item on the agenda on the city’s website by hyperlink in the agenda. But if you go to this item on the agenda it lists no documentation. There was also nothing on city website that gave information where this documentation could be located and access. And when I sent an email to all the members of the city council and mayor pointing out this problem only one member responded back a one word comment and no indication of how to access the documentation for this item. Yet during the council discussion this documentation was frequently referred too. Mr Bobosky even mentioned that he had modified his propose to city council reducing the funding request from $200K to $150K but this modified proposal was also not provided. I questions the legality of voting on a budget and proposal that were not make readily available to the public for review and comment.