City Council Gets Report on Status of Economic Recovery Plan

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During their regularly scheduled October 26th meeting, Burbank city council discussed the progress of the Economic Recovery Plan.

The Economic Recovery Plan is part of the city’s effort to stimulate the local economy following the recession conditions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mary Hamzoian, the city’s Economic Development Manager, delivered a presentation on the status of “The Plan” (as it has been nicknamed).

From March to June 2021, city leaders and business representatives from various industries met a total of ten times. Attendees of these “economic recovery taskforce meetings” included Burbank small business owners, entertainment executives, labor unions, property owners and even members of the city council.

“Overall, dialogue [during the meetings] was engaging, positive and helpful,” said Hamzoian. She mentioned that while the city’s on the right path in terms of recovery, there are still areas that need to be focused on.

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These areas include helping businesses that need assistance with hiring staff, aiding the local restaurant industry that continues to suffer and possibly maintaining permanent dining parklets in Downtown Burbank.

Hamzoian pointed out several strategies and solutions that the city implemented to respond to economic challenges. These included job fairs, the “Chow Down” campaign to support local restaurants, small business loans and targeted advertising.

According to the presentation, Burbank’s Small Business Assistance Loan Program has provided 92 loans to small businesses in need, totaling a little over $1.2 million dollars in loan money. In terms of rental assistance, the city has assisted 257 households, totaling $656,791 of assistance money.

Following the Economic Development Manager’s report, Vice Mayor Jess Talamantes commended the work of city staff in writing up the report. He also made a comment regarding the attendance of taskforce meetings: “out of 1500 invitees, only 108 attended.” The Vice Mayor was disappointed in these numbers and stated that “we were doing everything we could with the outreach” for the meetings.

Mayor Bob Frutos asked Hamzoian whether or not she knew if the Burbank On Parade would be brought back. She said that there were no current talks about this.

As it was a report and not something to vote on, the council note and filed the matter.