SECA Could Bring Replacement Event for Christkindlmarket

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The Special Events and Cultural Amenities, or SECA Commission, recently came before Naperville City Council. They made several recommendations to the dais based on their task force discussions over the past few months.

“This is a process,” said Rebecca Boyd-Obarski, the city council representative on the SECA Commission. “This is our effort to continuously improve the SECA process.”

Subcategories Get Certain Percentages

The first recommendation was a 50-50 split in fund allocations between special events and cultural amenities, with subcategories within cultural amenities also getting designated shares. This money comes from the food and beverage tax for Naperville restaurants.

“We call them subcategories but it might be easier to think of them as buckets,” said Boyd-Obarski. “So we’d take the money that is available and would actually divide it into groups and allow the applicants to then come forward with an application in one or another particular bucket.”

What to do With Found Money?

The biggest question, however, was what to do with grant money intended for Christkindlmarket and Ribfest once those events leave Naperville in 2019 and 2020, respectively.

One option is to take the roughly $60,000 allocated to Christkindlmarket and fund all the city service requests up to the requested amount for any event that was not already fully-funded.

A Replacement Event

Council could also roll that money over into the next application cycle, or use it to fund a replacement event during the holiday season. Naper Settlement has reportedly approached the SECA Commission with the idea to host a holiday-themed event.

The commission was still unclear on the details, but some on the dais seemed open to the idea.

“We did approve and allocate a certain amount of money toward a holiday festival,” said Mayor Steve Chirico. “So it’s not the one we thought it was going to be, but I still think that reallocating it toward another holiday festival would be reasonable in this particular case.”

Though in the past council has denied late entries for SECA grants due to event cancellations, some felt an exception was warranted in this case.

“My whole thing here is fairness. If one is leaving, should it go up for a process?” asked Councilman Paul Hinterlong. “But like the mayor says, this has to be taken care of now, because it will be here before you know it and there’s a lot of planning that has to be done.”

Council instructed the SECA Commission to provide them with more details on the potential event, though planning would have to begin as soon as possible, if it’s going to happen.

No Sunset Policy Recommendation

Another recommendation involved weaning organizations off the funding. Though discussions in the task force meetings involved a potential sunset policy on SECA funds, the commission’s verdict was to not recommend such a policy.

Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.