On Tuesday, September 28th at 6 P.M., Burbank City Council held a regularly scheduled meeting.
At the beginning of the meeting, Mayor Bob Frutos announced that the state’s emergency eviction moratorium is set to expire today, September 30th.
“Those who are at risk of eviction can apply to the state rental assistance program at housingiskey.com,” said the Mayor.
Following the announcements, the Council went over the consent calendar, which included an appropriation of $100,000 to traffic safety. The consent calendar is a grouping of agenda items that are simultaneously voted on and approved at once. The consent calendar passed 5-0.
Perhaps the most contentious part of the meeting was the discussion of the possible implementation of a parcel tax. A parcel tax is a tax placed on properties and it essentially taxes the use of city services by said property owners. Although similar to a property tax, a parcel tax does not tax based on property or land value, but rather on the use of the said property.
Prior to the beginning of the discussion on the agenda item, Councilman Nick Schultz voluntarily recused himself from the discussion due to concerns that his wife’s employment at NBC-Universal would create a conflict of interest if he was to deliberate on the matter.
Councilman Konstantine Anthony requested that a parcel tax be looked into by the Council, with his goal being that the Council would approve a proposal investigating the placement of a parcel tax on the ballot for the next city election.
In the past, Burbank voters narrowly rejected the parcel tax proposals of Measures I and QS in the elections that occurred in November 2018 and March 2020 respectively. Due its consideration as a “special tax” by the state, a parcel tax requires 66% of the vote to be implemented.
Due to both Measure I and QS narrowly missing passage by a few thousand votes, Councilman Anthony wanted to again give voters the possibility to implement such a tax. However, instead of implementing a flat parcel tax that would tax single-family homeowners at the same rate as Disney Studios, he wanted to craft a more progressive version of the tax.
“Single-family homeowners, renters, and small businesses should all be exempt from this tax,” said Anthony. “The tax should really be affecting large-scale commercial developers and corporations, who pay very little in city property taxes.”
Despite Councilman Anthony’s proposal, the council was rather hostile towards the possibility of implementing this tax, with Councilwoman Sharon Springer outright calling his proposal “misleading.” Her claim was based on the assumption that Councilman Anthony was primarily trying to target Amazon’s new Burbank property for taxation due to his involvement in the local Tax Amazon campaign.
However, Councilman Anthony quickly clarified: “this tax would affect every large corporation in Burbank, including Walmart and Target in the Empire Center.”
The council ended up rejecting Councilman Anthony’s proposal 3-1-1, with Councilmembers Springer, Frutos, and Talamantes voting against the proposal and Councilman Schultz recusing himself.