Burbank Faces Large Budget Cuts Following Rising Deficit

By On October 11, 2017

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

There’s a financial storm heading toward the City of Burbank that’s expected to be here sooner than we think. To be clear, there is not one simple answer pertaining to the creation of Burbank’s rising deficit, however, a large factor is due to CalPERS and the 2008 recession. The city will also be losing its General Fund Revenue and Street Lighting Fund Revenue, which totals to $11.7 million dollars. A call to the City Attorney’s office regarding this loss was left unanswered. We will update this story should the City Attorney provide a comment.

Financial Services Director, Cindy Giraldo, gives the Council an overall budget forcast (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

With the rising payments, and an abundance of infrastructure repair and maintenance work needed throughout the city, Burbank’s city leaders and citizens face some tough questions.

Burbank’s forecasted annual deficit is equal to 27.4 million dollars and will arrive in the year 2022-2023. In order to combat this, city departments were asked to submit “options” in trimming the city’s budget. The following information is described as “options” and should be treated as such. The budget meeting held at the community service building near City Hall did not confirm any of the cuts.

Lastly, there are proposed budget cuts across playing field. Below are the proposed cuts that would have the largest impact on day-to-day life for Burbank’s citizens.

Fire Department

  • Option 1: Close Station 14, located at 2305 W Burbank Blvd, Burbank, CA
    • Annual Fire Savings – $1.6 million
    • Admin Support Overhead Savings of $144K
  • Option 2: Close Stations 14 and 16. Station 16 is located at 1600 Bel Aire Drive Burbank, CA 91502
    • Annual Savings of $3.2 million
    • Admin Support Overhead Savings of $288K

Closing one or two fire stations would presumably increase emergency response time, which currently sits at 6 minutes, 7 seconds. This action would also theoretically jeopardize Burbank Fire Department’s Class 1 certification.

Police Department

Option 1:

  • Contract Out Jail Program ($380K)
  • Contract out Parking Control ($110K)
  • Eliminate Crossing Guards ($465K)
  • Contract Animal Shelter Services ($1.45 million)
  • Eliminate Air Support ($1.2 million)
  • Eliminate 9 Sworn Positions ($2 million)

Option 1 would provide an annual savings of $5.6 million and Admin Support Overhead Savings of $504K.

Option 2:

(*$7.5 Milllion)

Option 2 would provide annual savings of $11.3 million dollars and $1 million in Admin Support Overhead.

Parks & Recreation

  • Maintain contracted meal services at Joslyn Senior Center ($680K)
  • Eliminate Home Delivered Meals Program ($475K)
  • Reduce Senior Services including Recreation Program, Information, and Assistance Program, and Human Services Program ($575K)
  • Forestry Services changing their pruning cycle from 6 to 8 years ($225K)

The Parks and Rec department also submitted the option to close the following facilities and all associated programs:

  • Gross Park
  • Stough Canyon Park
  • Stough Canyon Nature Center
  • Starlight Bowl
  • Miller Park
  • Maple Street Playground
  • Johnny Carson Park (southern side)
  • Verdugo Park and Rec Center
  • Creative Arts Center
  • Verdugo Pool
  • McCambridge Pool
  • Valley Skate Park
  • Tuttle Senior Center
  • Mariposa Equestrian Bridge and Horse Trail

The closure of these parks would provide a savings of $3.9 million dollars.

The following programs are to be eliminated along with their associated park closures:

  • Youth Sports
  • Youth Leadership Program (YLP)
  • Adult Sports
  • Counselor in Training (CIT)
  • Aquatics
  • Teen Events

The Boards and Commissions impacted would be the Cultural Arts Commission, the Burbank Athletic Federation, the Senior Board, and the Youth Board. The School Joint Use Agreement would also be terminated, saving $441K.

Furthermore, Parks & Rec may also cut:

  • Day Camp and Afterschool Program ($120K)
  • Family Service Agency School Counseling Funding
  • Boys and Girls Club after school Care Funding
  • All Holiday Events
  • Burbank Volunteer Program ($228K)

The total annual savings equal to $6.9 million dollars, with an admin support overhead of $625K.

Library Services

  • Close Central Library ($2 million)
    • Some staff to be relocated
    • Eliminates 18 FTE positions
    • Reduces 63 hours per week of service
    • Eliminates 40% of the library collection; 38 public computers; 150 seats for studying
    • Eliminates adult literacy services and the Burbank in Focus local history project
    • No library service in the downtown core/north of the freeway.

Admin Support Overhead Savings – $180K

Management Services

  • Eliminate Youth Employment Programs ($366K)
    • Includes STEP, CREST, and BEST
  • Eliminate Workforce Connection ($39K)
    • Eliminates resources provided to approximately 6,000 unemployed or underemployed clients annually.
    • Program is 73% grant funded

 

The above-proposed cuts, along with cuts to Community Development, Labor Cost Efficiencies, and Transportation Services, equate to $28,961,000. When putting that against our deficit of $27,441,000, the remainder equals to $1,520,000.

Burbank Mayor Will Rogers wants to find new ways of generating revenue instead of cutting city services (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

During the meeting, Mayor Will Rogers had this to say about the potential cuts: “When I looked through this list of proposals, the word that came to mind, for me, was ‘Dystopian.'” Other members of city council seemed to share the same sentiment as some of the proposed cuts would likely have an effect on the safety and well-being of all Burbank residents. Rogers went on to say, “I strongly support looking at the other means of generating revenues that are available to us. I know they’ll be angry with us, and I know they’ll hold us responsible for it, but I think it’s what the people of Burbank tend to want, instead of settling for less.”

Along with budget cuts, the city is looking at other options to generate new revenue. One such option is taking a hard look at overturning the ban on medical marijuana dispensaries within city limits. As medical marijuana is set to become legal in the state, the city of Burbank has an opportunity to impose a tax on all sales and generate an entirely new revenue source.

Other revenue plans deal in increasing taxes for residents, businesses, and non-residents. As the plan becomes sorted out, we can expect more concrete details as to what the city needs, and how our city leaders plan on bringing Burbank out of a potential financial mess. To watch the full meeting with our Mayor and City Council, you can click here.

All seats were filled as members of the public wanted to hear about the City’s budget problems (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

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4 thoughts on “Burbank Faces Large Budget Cuts Following Rising Deficit

  1. Johnny

    Glad to see that the Burbank City Council has been working hard on this stuff this past year…..instead of voting to make this a sanctuary city or change Columbus Day. Burbank is only the first city that will experience this type of cost-cutting as a result of Liberal politics

    Reply
  2. CornFused

    Is it possible for residents to propose areas to cut back? Looking over the city budget shows a few areas that should be looked at a bit closer. The current problem is, the people that are being fed by the city would rather not look in that direction. I’ve noticed there’s people representing us that still have no problems with continued raises and other benefits. Just seems a bit insulting all things considered.

    There’s a certain amount of fat that can and should be cut back a bit that wouldn’t have the negative effect as the proposed cuts.

    Reply
  3. Pingback: Burbank Budget Crisis: Causes and Solutions

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