Letter to the Editor:
Last month Burbank City Council passed the City Budget for fiscal 2022-23. This budget is a balanced budget which is amazing considering the financial instability and deficits for the City of the past two years. Staff also projects a balanced budget for the next five years for which they and Council deserve praise.
Unfortunately, there is a certain neighborhood in our City that has made clear that they think that the City’s revenues are meant to be spent primarily for their benefit. Their sense of entitlement is now posed to push Burbank into a precarious financial deficit that would impact all residents.
I agree with Council’s vote to deny the development of the Pickwick property. Frankly, they were in a “dammed if we do and damned if we don’t” situation where the City would be sued by either the Rancho residents or the developer, and Council decided to side with the residents. It was a decision that would allow a judge as a neutral arbitrator to make the final assessment regarding this impasse.
But due to the rejection of State law that was implicit in that vote, there was always the potential of a lawsuit against the City by the State Attorney General’s office. Now it has been reported that this possibility will soon become a reality.
As Former Mayor Michael Hastings stated in his letter to Council, the financial impact of a lawsuit by the AG could be a devastating blow to our City just as we are finally reaching financial stability. The millions sucked out of our budget to fight an AG action and pay the fines that would result could potentially impact all our city services. We are barely making ends meet right now.
In addition, Rancho residents expect the City to buy the stables at Mariposa to stop a planned development. Again, they presume that millions of dollars of City money will be used to appease their demands. The stables were for sale for two years, during which time these residents could have found a way to buy the stables themselves. But no, why should they invest their own money when they can demand that Burbank taxpayers pay the bill. A Rancho realtor told the Burbank Leader, “We haven’t lost a fight yet”. Clearly they fully expect the City to dump as much money as they want into whatever battles they have whenever they say so.
As an almost 30 year resident of Burbank, I call upon our elected leaders to put the needs of all residents and the financial stability of our city first and foremost in their decision-making. We need to finally reach the point where the necessities of a city of 100,000 will not be shoved aside for desires of a neighborhood of 15,000.