Burbank City Council Meets In-Person For First Time Since March 2020; Discusses Low-Income Assistance Programs

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On July 13th at 6 P.M., Burbank City Council held a regular meeting. This was the first meeting since the beginning of the pandemic in which all city councilors were present in-person, a fact all five councilors took great joy in.

BWP Drought

At the beginning of the meeting, Mayor Bob Frutos and staff from the Parks and Recreation Department announced that the month of July has been proclaimed “Parks and Recreation Month” in the city.

Following the retirement of former Police Chief Scott LaChasse, Michael Albanese was inaugurated as the interim Chief by a judge at the meeting. He has been a member of the Burbank Police Department since 2010 and has served closely with former Chief LaChasse.

During the meeting, city council unanimously approved the consent calendar. The consent calendar is a grouping of agenda items that are all voted on and approved simultaneously.

There were a total of five items on the consent calendar, including the approval of advocacy efforts in order to preserve the Tri-City communities of Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena staying within the same electoral districts. All items were successfully passed 5-0.

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Glenn Oyoung, a marketing associate for Burbank Water & Power, presented a report on the city’s low-income assistance programs to the council. Six of the programs reviewed by Oyoung were administered by BWP, while both the city’s Parks and Recreation Department and Community Development Department each had 2 programs reviewed respectively.

Three of BWP’s low income assistance programs (Lifeline Program, Life Support, and Project Share) entail a reduction in the Utility User’s Tax for those who are eligible. Another one of the programs, Refrigeration Exchange, allows Water & Power customers to exchange their old refrigerators for a free Energy Star certified model.

Additionally, BWP customers who became unemployed due to the pandemic qualify for hundreds of dollars worth of bill credits.

Burbank Parks & Recreation department operates two low-income assistance programs: the Program, Activity and Service Subsidy (PASS) Program, which subsidizes recreational activities for qualifying residents, and the Supplemental Nutrition Program, which provides meals to senior citizens.

Finally, the Community Development Department has two additional programs: the Rent Assistance Program and the Small Business Loan Program. The former provides emergency rental assistance to low-income households affected by the pandemic while the latter provides funding to small business owners negatively impacted by COVID-19.

Following the presentation by the BWP representative, the City Council voted on a new BWP low-income residential assistance program that would address the pandemic and changing needs. The plan was unanimously approved. The plan would last from October this year till January 2022.

A video recording of the meeting can be viewed here. Additionally, the meeting agenda can be found here.

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