What’s At Issue?
Council had been given recommended allocations from SECA for over 50 groups that had applied for funding. SECA had recommended a $69,155 allocation for Naper Pride Fest, but City Council had lowered it to $47,533.
At Tuesday’s city council meeting, Councilman Ian Holzhauer said he didn’t think it was right that Naper Pride was the only group out of the 54 making SECA requests that had a reduction in its recommended allotment.
“We can’t as a city be singling you out for different treatment,” Holzhauer said. “You’ve gone through the SECA process. They took their scalpel to the budget, gave the recommendations just as they did for everybody else. I think you should be treated equally.”
Josh Stell spoke on behalf of Naper Pride, making a plea to the council for more support.
“We’ve been respectful of the grant and did everything we could to be good stewards of this money,” Stell said.
Naper Pride received $83,000 in SECA grant funding in 2020, which was ultimately returned to the city when the group’s Naper Pride Fest event was forced to cancel over COVID-19. They were then allocated $115,000 for the 2021 Naper Pride Fest, but returned $6,800 of that amount to the city.
Stell urged the council to award the full amount recommended by SECA for 2022, as opposed to reallocating part of Naper Pride’s funding toward another group as was done in years past.
“In each of the last three years that we have applied for SECA, that has happened to us,” Stell said.
Councilwoman Theresa Sullivan said she believes the City Council is all for supporting the SECA grant program and all the different initiatives that fall under its umbrella. “What we’re talking about is all events that make Naperville better, that are happy,” Sullivan said. “I think all of us are happy to put this money toward it. It’s all good stuff.”
She recommended using some of the SECA underspend money to help bring the Naper Pride Fest allocation up to its full recommended amount.
Ultimately, council agreed, awarding Naper Pride Fest the original recommended allotment of $69,155. The city also allotted $16,978 to the group for city services.
Council also approved the other 53 allocations recommended by SECA.
SECA grants are made possible thanks to funding generated from the city’s food and beverage tax. NCTV17 is partially funded by a SECA grant.
Naperville News 17’s Megann Horstead reports.
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