The City of Naperville will allocate $1.9 million in 2016 from a food and beverage tax to a Special Events Cultural Amenities Fund, of which $1,170,000 will be distributed. The requirements for eligibility of SECA funds include that the recipient must be a not-for-profit organization, and that funds “will only be reimbursed for what was approved in the application.” The Downtown Naperville Alliance reassigned grant money from a New Year’s Eve celebration to a Harry Potter book extravaganza, which will benefit private businesses’ book sales, including those of Anderson’s Book Shop, owned by Becky Anderson, a member of the City Council. The City Council approved the diversion of funds, with Councilwoman Anderson recusing herself from the vote.
The mayor recognized the issue, but ‘makes a case’ for it, while Councilwoman Brodhead says that because it’s not a ‘huge amount’ she’s fine with the diversion.
Since when are our elected officials supposed to ‘make a case’ for violating the City’s own rules to the benefit of private parties, including a member of City Council? Since when are the same elected officials supposed to decide that violations of the City’s own rules are acceptable as long as they are not “huge amounts”?
Taxpayer funds for this event were originally denied. Then the funds were diverted from the original use to the benefit of for-profit entities, including one owned by a member of City Council, and the City Council which is supposed to be representing the residents not only approves of it, but the Mayor ‘makes a case’ for it.