City should fund DECI operations
As an organizer of highly regarded events such as the International Fall Festival, Downtown Eau Claire Incorporated has demonstrated the vitality of its existence in keeping downtown Eau Claire alive and well.
For that reason, we are concerned about talks of “phasing out” DECI from city funding.
We feel that DECI’s contribution to the community far outweighs its cost to the city.
The term “phasing out” implies that DECI will someday stand on its own, something that may not be feasible – whether those were terms of its funding or not.
What we suggest is the city slowly cuts the $85,000 DECI receives every year over time, but never completely excludes it from the city budget.
Times are tough for the city and $85,000 is a substantial amount of money, but times are also tough for the small businesses that greatly benefit from the work of DECI.
DECI does receive some external funds generated by the events that it puts on, so it would not be completely damaged if city funding was reduced.
However, that is not to say that it is ready to become a self-sufficient operation.
DECI has made great progress so far, but hasn’t been given enough time to completely turn around what was a dying downtown.
More time should be allowed for the organization to benefit the area and for it to come up with other means of revenue.
The latter is extremely important. As the city works out what will happen with the future of funding for DECI, the organization needs to take its own steps to stay up and running.
Other events to generate revenue or potentially reworking the way it promotes its events and businesses to cut costs could hold the key to being self-sufficient.
Also, as time goes on and businesses continue to benefit from the work of DECI, those businesses should also consider giving back to the organization that has helped them thrive.