The tone of the State of the City Address that was held Wednesday at the Airport Marriott was that Burbank remains in great shape overall. In fact Burbank Wednesday was in better shape than Mayor Bob Frutos, who was under the weather.
Frutos, who also missed Tuesday’s City Council meeting, needed to stay home an extra day to recover but will be back in action next week – if not sooner. Vice-Mayor Jess Talamantes was on hand and delivered a flawless message to the ballroom backed with local businessmen.
Each year, the Burbank Chamber of Commerce puts on the State of the City Luncheon and this year they continued to put on a great program to a capacity turnout.
Eric Foster, Vice President of the Burbank City Federal Credit Union and the 2015 Chamber Board Chair started off by holding up a life-size cutout of Frutos in front of his face to welcome everyone and explained the Mayor’s absence.
After an Invocation by Pastor Sam Kim of the First United Methodist Church, new BUSD Superintendent Matt Hill was tabbed to lead the Pledge of Allegiance with the assistance of the Burbank Police Department Honor Guard. Burbank Police Officer Kiyomi Roberts then sang an inspired rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.
With Talamantes pinch hitting for Frutos, he helped present the State of the City with the extensive help of video messages. Each year the video messages have improved in substance in quality and each Mayor has fully utilized it.
There was a nice presentation of Burbank’s hosting of the Special Olympics with all of the fun and touring that the Olympians experienced during their Burbank visit.
One of the first topics was about the drought and what Burbank has done to support the Governor’s mandated 25% reduction of usage across the state. Burbank has renamed their portion the Billion Gallon Challenge and so far has saved 677 million gallons with still four months to go before the February deadline. Talamantes also reminded everyone that beginning November 1 residents go from two days a week of watering automatically to just one.
Burbank continues to grow in revenue with a projected 2.9% net increase in the next five years to fund the City’s budget which will also help in funding city pensions.
Some of that extra money will also be earmarked for several underfunded needs such as the City’s infrastructure, streets and bridges, as well as upkeep of municipal buildings. As Talamantes put it, ” there is a certain quality of life expected in Burbank”.
Some other great numbers included office vacancy rate of 11.1% compared to 12.5% in Los Angeles County. Employment growth is already 10% year to date and Burbank’s home values ($610,000) are 26% higher than the County’s $485,000.
After this the video message got a little Daffy, as in Daffy Duck. You can tell that Frutos had put a lot of time, planning and work into the video presentation as he enlisted the talented animators at Warner Bros. Daffy Duck was brought in and did several interactions with the Mayor as they discussed facets of the Burbank Studio such as Warner Bros. employs 12,000 people of which approximately 2,500 live in Burbank.
Lastly the Vice-Mayor touched on some new businesses locating in Burbank. Besides the new Ikea on South San Fernando Blvd., there are two new hotels in the same area with 379 new rooms between them along with a newly opened Tesla Motors.
There was an update of the Nickelodeon expansion that will house 450 new jobs to open in the summer of 2017, Talaria at Burbank that will feature a Whole Foods, 241 luxury rooms and will be one of the first LEED-certified green residential communities in Burbank that is expected to open in the spring of 2018.
Walmart is scheduled to open in the summer of 2016 and will generate 300 new jobs and the City Council will consider a new development called First Street Village located near Palm and Magnolia that will be a five-story structure with 283 apartments and 13,765square feet of retail space along with 662 parking spaces. One of the many amenities promised will include a dog park within the facility.
Talamantes did a great job stepping in for the Mayor on a short notice and has now been at the podium twice for this occasion and will once again be there in 2016 when he will once again serve as Mayor. Maybe next year he will let Frutos come up and have some of the fun also.