Tag Archives: City of Burbank

Burbank’s Disaster Council Meets, Chairman Issues Social Distancing Rules

After the City Council declared an Emergency, the City Manager (Justin Hess) has been appointed the Chairman of the Disaster Council with the different department heads in the City making up the Disaster Council.  They can then appoint others as needed.The Chairman can issue orders and also can call for a meeting at any time of the Disaster Council.

When asked about the enforcement of the order, Burbank Police Public Information Officer Sgt. Derek Green said, “The ordinance applies to any store in the City of Burbank. Burbank Police will be working with stores in hopes of enforcing the ordinance together, as both the store and customer are responsible for adhering to the conditions.

We have been, and will continue to deploy officers who are specifically keeping an eye on our business districts, including gun stores, grocery stores, etc., for issues pertaining to social distancing and other nuisance concerns.

Violating the ordinance, like other Burbank Municipal ordinances, is considered a misdemeanor and enforceable by citation or arrest.

The purpose of the ordinance is to protect our community during the Covid-19 pandemic and provide a safe and healthy environment to help slow the spread of the virus.

For now, we are helping stores acclimate to the ordinance and explaining the conditions to them. They’ve been encouraged to make adjustments to their operations in order to adhere to the conditions and avoid any enforcement action. We always encourage our citizens to report suspicious activity and other violations.”

When asked about how quick officers will be to issue citations, Green said it will be totally up to the officers discretion and hopefully officers can educate the public for their own benefit and that of their friends, neighbors and family.

Friday the Burbank Disaster Council issued the following order for Burbank. Here is the complete order:

The Director of Emergency Services of the City of Burbank does hereby find:

  1. On March 13, 2020, a local emergency was declared in the City of Burbank due to COVID-19 pandemic.
  2. On March 17, 2020, the City Council by Resolution No. 20-29,135 confirmed the existence of the local emergency and confirmed the powers of the Director of Emergency Services to take all acts pursuant to Burbank Municipal Code Section 5-2-106 to protect life and property.
  3. On March 19, 2020, the Los Angeles County Public Health Officer issued an Order entitled Safer at Home for Control of COVID-19 (Order). This Order encompassed rules for events and gathering, social distancing and closure of non-essential business and areas, as well as listing categories of essential businesses allowed to stay open under the Order.
  4. On March 19, 2020, the Governor issued an executive order similar to the Safer at Home Order.
  5. On March 21, 2020, the Los Angeles County Public Health Officer issued a revised Safer at Home for Control of COVID-19 Order which further restricted gatherings and changed categories of non-essential and essential businesses under the Order. The Order is effective through April 19, 2020.
  6. The Order applies within the Los Angeles County Public Health jurisdiction, which is all unincorporated areas and cities within Los Angeles County except for the cities of Long Beach and Pasadena (who have their own public health officers.) The City of Burbank is subject to this Order.
  7. As stated in the Order, it is intended to deter the spread of COVID-19 by preventing people from being in unnecessary close contact.
  8. The Order provides, however, it does not supersede any stricter limitation imposed by a local public entity within the Los Angeles Public Health Jurisdiction.
  9. Essential Businesses under the Order must comply with social distancing requirements and other health prevention measures such as providing hand sanitizers.
  10. The City of Burbank is experiencing Essential Businesses allowing customers to queue in the public right-of-way including sidewalks and City-owned alleys; rather than on their own property.
  11. Furthermore, customers waiting to enter essential businesses are not practicing social distancing of six feet separation and are interfering with other members of the public safely navigating along sidewalks and other public right-of-way by not maintaining social distances.
  12. The rules and regulations being issued pursuant to the authority vested in the Director of Emergency Services under Burbank Municipal Code Section 5-2-106are reasonably related and necessary to the protection of life and property as affected by the spread of COVID-19.

The Director of Emergency Services of the City of Burbank does hereby order:

  1. The following rules and regulations are hereby instituted within the City Burbank:
  2. Any Essential Business under the Safer at Home Order operating in the City of Burbank shall not allow queuing of its customers while waiting to enter their business in the City’s public right-of-way including sidewalks and alleys.
  3. Any Essential Business under the Safer at Home Order operating in the City of Burbank shall only allow queuing of customers on their own property, if customers are able to maintain separation by a distance of six feet.
  4. Any Essential Business under the Safer at Home Order operating in the City of Burbank who is unable to meet the requirements under subsections 1 and 2, above, shall only be open to the public through appointments.
  5. Any customers waiting to enter an Essential Business in the City shall not line-up in the City’s public right-of-way including sidewalks or alleys.
  6. Pursuant to Burbank Municipal Code Section 5-2-301 it is unlawful to commit any act forbidden by this order. Any person violating any of the provisions or failing to comply with any of the mandatory requirements of this Code including violating this order may be guilty of a misdemeanor pursuant Burbank Municipal Code Section 1-1-105.
  7. This order is effective immediately through April 19, 2020 unless extended further.
  8. If any section, subsection, sentence, clause or phrase of this order is for any reason held to be invalid or unconstitutional, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this order.

DATED this 27th day of March, 2020.

Justin Hess-,  City Manager and Director of Emergency Services

 

Burbank’s Stance on Gun Stores in Burbank: Essential or Not?

When Los Angeles County Health Health ordered residents to stay at home under the “Safer at Home” order, one provision was to close all nonessential businesses in the County, which came just before the State order.

file photo

At first, gun stores in Burbank felt they were ‘essential’ businesses and stayed open with the L. A. County Health Department’s blessing but Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva ordering them closed and said they were ‘not essential’ businesses.

With two conflicting orders at the time, the City of Burbank recognized the Health Department’s guidelines since Burbank comes under their jurisdiction. Only Pasadena and Long Beach have their own independent Health Departments and do not have to go by the County’s guidelines.

After much discussion on Wednesday, the Sheriff allowed guns stores to reopen but stated he would find out a legal definition.

On Thursday, at his press conference, Sheriff Villanueva once again closed guns stores, but only in unincorporated cities of the County in a release. “Sheriff Villanueva also addressed the temporary shutdown of guns and ammunition sales outside of Law Enforcement and Private Security organizations. The order will be effective for all unincorporated L.A County areas, including 42 contract cities where LASD provides law enforcement services.” was stated in the Sheriff Department’s Press Release Thursday afternoon.

Of course by this definition, Burbank would not be included since they are an incorporated City with their own government and police and fire departments. They followed the Health Department’s orders and left gun shops open on Tuesday.

Burbank Police Public Information Officer Derek Green said about the gun store closures, “Burbank can make their own decision about the gun stores, per the most recent order. Those discussions are being had amongst City officials.” While some have worried about an increase in domestic battery cases during the social distancing he added, “We’ve seen no increase so far. I guess it’s possible, but we don’t anticipate any increase in our domestic violence incidents at this time.”

After the Thursday order that did not include incorporated cities such as Burbank, we asked the City what they were going to do with the situation, as well as who in the City could authorize the shutdown of gun shops as ‘nonessential’ businesses.

The City of Burbank’s Public Information Officer, Simone McFarland responded with the official statement from the City of Burbank regarding gun shops and if they will be shut down:

“Certainly, there has been confusion on certain categories of essential businesses, including gun shops.  The County has said gun shops are essential businesses under the Safer at Home Order, which aligns with the Governor’s stay at home executive order, and can remain open. 

This Order is effective within the County of Los Angeles Public Health Jurisdiction defined as all unincorporated areas and cities within the County of Los Angeles, with the exception of the cities of Long Beach and Pasadena.  As such Burbank is subject to this Order.

The Order is based upon scientific evidence and best practices, as currently known and available, to protect members of the public from avoidable risk of serious illness and death from the spread of COVID-19, as well as to protect the healthcare system from a surge of cases into emergency rooms and hospitals. 

Burbank does not have our own Health Officer and relies on the County’s Public Health Officer for guidance and decisions as to essential businesses.

Until Los Angeles County Public Health Officer directs otherwise, gun shops will remain open.”

While Burbank relies on the County order, it may be up to the City of Burbank to decide the closure of gun shops if they choose. When the City Council declares an Emergency, the Mayor (Sharon Springer) becomes Chairman of Emergencies with the Vice Chairman being the City Manager (Justin Hess) and the Assistant Director is the Assistant City Manager (Judie Wilke) becoming known as the Disaster Council. They can then appoint others as needed. All decisions they take must be then taken to the full City Council for a vote. The Chairman can call for a meeting at any time of the Disaster Council.

The Disaster Council has met and will stay with the County’s decision at this time.

Of course, guns stores, like guns themselves are the third rail of American politics. With the gun lobby being so powerful, politicians are reluctant to battle them and citizens believe their second amendment rights are being trampled.

As of Friday, the National Rifle Association has announced a lawsuit aimed at California officials about the closures.

 

City of Burbank Hires New Public Works Director

The City of Burbank has hired a new Public Works Director. Ken Berkman was selected during a nationwide search facilitated by Teri Black & Company. He fills the permanent position that has been vacant since late October and has been occupied by Judie Wilke, the Assistant City Manager and Acting Director of Public Works.

Ken Berkman

The search included more than 50 applicants narrowed to a smaller pool and ultimately ended with the selection of Ken Berkman. “Among many desired qualities, I was especially focused on finding a leader who would be a visible and an engaged role model,” says City Manager Justin Hess. “Ken has a great mix of public and private sector experience lasting more than 30 years.”

Mr. Berkman comes to Burbank from El Segundo where he has been the Public Works Director since 2016. He has also worked for private sector companies such as MARRS Services, Inc., Psomas, Parsons and Turner along with the Cities of Agoura Hills and Culver City. Currently Mr. Berkman services as a Policy Committee Member for the League of California Cities.

“I look forward to working for a dynamic city like Burbank,” says Berkman. “Burbank has so much going on and I’m happy that I will get to be a part of it.”

City of Burbank Declares a State of Local Emergency

The City of Burbank has declared a State of Local Emergency as a precaution against the Coronavirus pandemic.

As of this writing California has 198 cases of Coronavirus [COVID-19] and 4 deaths from the illness. Three new community transmitted cases have been reported by the Los Angles County Department of Health, one person is hospitalized. This brings the total in the county to 32 which include four in Long Beach and one in Pasadena. Although no cases have been reported in the City of Burbank, as a precaution, the City has announced it will be canceling various city events and recreation locations. Burbank’s first responders, and the Hollywood Burbank Airport have implemented protocols and procedures to prevent the virus spreading to employees and the public.

While working closely with their Emergency Operations team and the county health department, the City is monitoring the CDC and the World Health Organization [WHO] for information on the Coronavirus. Burbank will also be complying with Governor Newsom’s directive that large gatherings of 250 people not be held. The City has announced several actions will be taken in order to protect the public from the virus. Events of more than 250 attendees occurring before March 31 will be suspended including the Egg-Sight-Ment in the Wild on March 29, Youth Art Expo Opening Reception on April 2 and 3 and the Spring Egg-Stravaganza on April 11. The parks and recreation is closing the Tuttle Senior Center beginning March 13, and The Joslyn Adult Center will remain open with programs, classes and events suspended. Starting March 13, all City sports and aquatics programs will be suspended until the end of the month. For a complete list of suspensions and cancellations go to the city’s website www.burbankca.gov.

First responders are ready for any Coronavirus contacts. The Burbank Fire Department has been prepared for years. Protocols were created for the SARS, Swine Flu, and the Bird Flu outbreaks, plus the department trains for infections. A list of questions can be used to determine if a person has the illness. Refresher courses were also mandated for the firefighters due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Burbank Police Department will use gloves and masks for any contact with a potentially infected person. Inmates and arrestees at the jail are being monitored for any symptoms of the virus. A health screening is standard procedure for all arrestees. 

Hollywood Burbank Airport is coordinating with the Burbank Emergency Management and the county health department to best deal with the outbreak. The airport has its janitors constantly cleaning bathrooms and frequently touched areas such as railings and doorknobs. Hand sanitizers have also been placed throughout the airport. Screening of passengers for virus symptoms are not being done by the airport. The TSA confirmed on Wednesday three TSA officers who work at Mineta San Jose International Airport have tested positive for the Coronavirus, but all screening sites are still open.

There is no cure or vaccine for the Coronavirus. The best way to prevent contracting the virus is to avoid exposure to the illness. Coronavirus is believe to spread by close contact with an infected person. When a person infected with the virus coughs or sneezes, respiratory droplets can enter the mouths, or noses, or can be inhaled by persons nearby. The elderly and people with serious chronic illness are at highest risk. The CDC website lists potential symptoms of the virus including: fever, cough and shortness of breath. Seek immediate medical attention if these emergency symptoms occur: difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake up, or bluish lips or face.

            Burbank Coronavirus information and recommendations on how to avoid the illness are posted on www.burbankca.gov additional links to information on the virus are listed below.

 

http://publichealth.lacounty.gov

 

https://corona-virus.la

 

https://www.cdph.ca.gov

 

https://www.gov.ca.gov/2020/03/12/governor-newsom-issues-new-executive-order-further-enhancing-state-and-local-governments-ability-to-respond-to-covid-19-pandemic/

 

https://www.cdc.gov

 

https://www.usa.gov/coronavirus

 

https://www.who.int

Sixth Meeting of the Noise Task Force Held

FAA Representatives listen to presentations. (Photo by Ross A Benson)

While FAA representatives sat listening with passive, stone-like faces, studies and suggested solutions were presented at the sixth meeting of the Southern San Fernando Valley Airplane Noise Task Force held Feb. 19 to discuss solutions for the ongoing problem of airliner jet noise over the Southern region of the San Fernando Valley–including the City of Burbank.

HMMH Inc., an environmental and transportation consulting firm, gave a detailed and lengthy presentation supplying studies, research and the pros and cons of the suggested solutions; the Task Force and community groups listened intently.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

When HMMH confirmed air traffic from Hollywood Burbank and Van Nuys Airports had increased from 2017 to 2020, cheers and clapping erupted from the frustrated residents in the audience. Community groups have long said the extreme noise did not start until 2017 after the implementation of the FFA’s NextGen program. The NextGen satellite-based airliner navigational system, created to make flights safer, efficient and quieter, moved flight routes over the Valley from their historic paths.                   

A collective proposal by several community groups gave their own research and recommendations. Potential solutions included having planes climb to a higher altitude immediately after takeoff, dispersing flight routes in a wider range over the Valley, so no single community would suffer the bulk of jet noise and that the routes be returned to their historical paths. The FAA has said they will not return the routes to their earlier paths.

Beth Fulton, president of the Valley Village Homeowners Association said, “We have taken pieces of each group’s presentation and tried to figure out how is there a piece of this that can work, so everybody can try and get some relief. Our continued message is, share, share, share.”

 The FFA disqualified most of the recommendations claiming FAA regulations, limitations on airspace, airliner safety, traffic from other airports and many other explanations.  

A newcomer to the Task Force meetings was Pacoima Beautiful representing the North East San Fernando Valley.

 “Some of the proposals that have been submitted in terms of changing flight paths is really concentrating most of the flight paths North of the airport–basically over our communities. We have a problem with that,” said Andres Ramirez, director of Pacoima Beautiful.

Burbank Mayor Sharon Springer. ( Photo by Ross A Benson)

“We just have to be very fair in our recommendations,” said City of Burbank Mayor Sharon Springer. “We will make recommendations and those recommendations will go to the FAA, and they will say yes or no. The FAA may know another way to achieve that same outcome.”

Several community groups from the affected areas and representatives of the local congressional districts and California’s Senators were in attendance.

Suzanne Lewis, board member of the Valley Village Neighborhood Council was direct, “You know who regulates them [FAA].  Congress. That’s who they’ll listen to. So that’s who we need to be putting pressure on. I’m glad our congressmen are here. Even the senators… their representatives are here.”

The Task Force has just under a month to recommend possible solutions to the complex issue of Valley jet noise. The next meeting of the Task Force will be April 2 at the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport.

Board Of Library Trustees Vacancy

The Burbank City Clerk’s Office is accepting applications for the Board of Library Trustees beginning January 29, 2020 through February 28, 2020. To apply, please visit www.burbankca.gov/bccapplication to submit an application online or pick up an application in the City Clerk’s Office located in City Hall at 275 East Olive Avenue, First Floor. For more information, please contact the City Clerk’s Office at (818) 238-5851 or by email at cityclerks@burbankca.gov.

BOARDSTERMNO. OF VACANCIESSPECIFIC REQUIREMENTSFORM 700
Board of Library TrusteesUnexpired
term until

7-31-2020

1None

 

The deadline for submitting an application to the City Clerk’s Office is Friday, February 28, 2020, by 5:00 p.m. Applications may be submitted online at www.burbankca.gov/bccapplication. The appointments are tentatively scheduled to be made at the March 17, 2020 City Council Regular Meeting. All City Board, Commission, and Committee members serve without compensation from the City. No individual shall serve on more than one Board, Commission, or Committee at the same time. All applicants must be electors of, and actually live in the City of Burbank, with the exception of the Burbank Cultural Arts Commission and the Sustainable Burbank Commission. (Per BMC Section Nos. 2-1-405, 2-1-406, and 2-1-407)

First Year Successes and Goals Analyzed in Measure P

In November 2018, Burbank voters approved Measure P, which increased the City’s sales tax from 9.50% to 10.25%.  That increase took effect on April 1, 2019, and is on track to generate about $20 million per year in additional sales tax revenue.

Before Burbank voters went to the ballot, the City Council promised that it would use the additional $20 million per year to solve two major General Fund problems: deferred capital maintenance and a looming operating deficit related to pension liabilities. 

The City’s making good on its promises.

Several Council policies were put in place shortly after Measure P’s passage.  These include:

  • At least half of all annual Measure P revenues, some $10+ million, goes toward needed infrastructure improvements. The City is now in a position to overcome its backlog of street paving projects and keep Burbank’s streets in good condition going forward, as well as to make additional deferred maintenance improvements to the City’s capital infrastructure. 
  • The City and its employees will evenly share in the on-going annual pension cost.
  • At year-end, any General Fund balance in excess of 6% of the General Fund’s budgeted recurring appropriations will be used to fund employee pension liabilities. This annual funding commitment will be required if employee pension benefits are less than 90% funded and the pension funding commitment does not cause the General Fund balance to decline below $10 million.

The watchdogs are also in place.  In keeping with its promises to Measure P supporters, the City Council established oversight for the use of Measure P revenues; specifically by:

  • Creating a new Infrastructure Oversight Board (IOB) appointed by the City Council that includes City residents. Their responsibilities include, at a minimum, the annual review of proposed infrastructure spending as well as the status of funded projects. 
  • Expanding the responsibilities for the existing Retirement Plans Committee to include at least an annual review of the City’s pension funding and benefits.
  • Expanding the responsibilities for the Audit Committee to make sure, among other things, that all Measure P proceeds are used in the City of Burbank.
  • Two City Council members selected each year will act as liaisons to the Infrastructure Oversight Board. Currently, these are Mayor Gabel-Luddy and Vice Mayor Springer.

So with the policy and administrative machinery now in place, what has the City accomplished?

Streets are being repaved; with the backlog begin decreasing in FY 28/29 with the current $8.0M recurring budget.

A long-term street pavement plan, aimed at improving and then sustaining the quality of Burbank streets currently requires $8.0 million per year.  Before Measure P, there had been varying amounts allocated to street paving that ranged between $3.0 to $5.0 million annually with a portion of this coming from SB1 revenues.  Now, with Measure P in place, the City is able to achieve the annual $8 million funding requirement.

Using these funds, the Public Works Department recently finished their largest local/residential paving project the City has ever embarked upon. They have more than doubled the annual paving schedule, which now includes 180 local and residential streets along with arterial City blocks, as well as upgrading about 100 curb ramps. The City is diverting approximately 150,000 discarded tires from landfills using rubberized asphalt, which is also quieter and more durable.

Public Works has developed a paving schedule so that Burbank streets are repaved and maintained much more frequently, and therefore at significantly lower overall cost..  A street’s life expectancy is based on a variety of factors including age, traffic loads and volumes, construction materials, climate, and previous maintenance.  For example, a main arterial street receives much more wear and tear than a residential street due to heavier loads and greater volumes of vehicles, and therefore will usually need more frequent maintenance

About $7.5 million in annual Measure P funds are available for other capital purposes, including major deferred maintenance. With more a than $400 million deficit in infrastructure maintenance, it will take a while to catch up. 

The City is currently prioritizing Measure P dollars on deferred maintenance of high demand and critical City infrastructure.  Besides street pavement, this includes traffic systems, building roofs, fencing, playground equipment, and irrigation systems.  The City will also leverage the use of external revenue sources like grants and restricted revenues whenever possible.

Over time, the City plans to accumulate funds with the aim of meeting community demands for some larger scale renovations and capital improvement projects. The IOB will play a critical advisory role in determining City’s infrastructure funding priorities. 

Additionally, the City has one outstanding General Fund bond issuance that ends four years from now, in FY 2022/23. About $2.3 million per year is needed to service these bonds; but after FY2022/23, these dollars could be available for pay-as-you-go funding or for helping to service the debt of a new bond issue.

Perhaps the best ongoing service the IOB can render to the public is helping to make sure that capital projects are completed within budget and on schedule.  Cost overruns can undo the best funding plans, as nightmares like California’s “bullet train” and Boston’s “big dig” attest.  The IOB can help forestall local project disasters by requiring that staff’s capital project proposals demonstrate project management competence, and by reviewing procurement and bidding procedures.  By 2022/23, when the opportunity to finance major building projects will be better, both the IOB and staff will have hopefully developed the “muscle” to undertake these projects with confidence.

The City has a better chance to avoid future retirement funding crises but will need to be diligent in their spending.

For Measure P to be effective over the long term, the General Fund operating deficit must be addressed.  To accomplish this, the City must make good on sustaining $9.0 million in ongoing annual savings.  So far, the City has achieved $7.4 million in annual savings by:

  • Adopting targeted fees. Annual revenues so far: $2.0 million, even with the PASS program subsidy.
  • Paying salaries that are relevant to Burbank’s market and no higher than what is necessary to be competitive. Annual savings: $2.0 million.
  • Reducing the amount due to the CalPERS Liability each year by paying at the beginning of each fiscal year. Annual savings: $0.9 million.
  • Reducing workers compensation claim expenses. Annual savings: $2.5 million annually. Reducing claim expenses by $2.5 million–$1.3 million more than originally projected–is an instance of very successful cooperation between labor and management.

Most importantly, none of these cost-saving measures reduce the scope or quality of services to Burbank citizens and businesses. 

A more challenging arena of cooperation is getting all employees to contribute 50% of their pension costs, which would save $3.7 million per year.  As one of their cost-saving priorities, City Council approved a policy that all labor pays 50% of their pension costs.  (New hires contribute 50% of their pension costs pursuant to state law.)   The City has been making strides in this area.  The Burbank Management Association, and Burbank Police Officers’ Association recently approved contracts that will move them toward paying their half in the coming years and the City is currently negotiating with Burbank Fire Fighters and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. 

If the $3.7 million per year in savings were achieved, this would result in a total operating savings of $11.1 million, $2.1 million more than the $9.0 million target.  In view of the progress made so far, the City seems on track to making good on its commitment to generate long-term significant savings that don’t come at the expense of resident services.

The City is also making efforts to keep inflation from eroding its operating savings. 

As a result, the City has had no need to dip into its $33 million emergency fund, and has instead generated about $32 million in spendable surpluses; some of this money was generated from the hiring freeze put in place prior to Measure P and then released after voters passed Measure P.  Based on the City’s pension funding policy, this General Fund balance will ultimately help the City reduce its outstanding unfunded pension liability.

Retirement systems throughout the U.S. have been taken to task for overoptimistic projections, achievable—if at all–only by resorting to riskier investments that are subject to volatile market swings. As such, CalPERS has lowered its projected returns on investment from 7.5% to 7.0%, phased in over the next three years, beginning in FY 2019-20. For every 1% that CalPERS reduces the discount rate, the city’s annual cost increases by approximately 7%, highlighting the benefit of the 50/50 employee cost share policy.  Sharing in the costs reduces the City’s impact to 3.5% or half of the approximate increase.  As a result, the City and employees must contribute more to ensure that the retirement funds stays viable.

Besides City and employee contributions to CalPERS, increasing the actual rates of return on invested funds is another possible way to meet future retirement costs.

This coming year, City Council will consider placing funds into a 115 Trust Fund dedicated toward meeting pension obligations. By establishing this Trust the City hopes to put itself in a better position to absorb future pension cost volatility caused either by economic downturns or new CalPERS changes.

With all of these changes, the City’s financial future is healthier than the dire forecast prior to these adjustments.  The additional revenue along with cost savings has placed the city in the black for its 5-year future budget forecast, but barely. Pre-paying pension liability will certainly help; however, if CalPERS makes additional changes in their projected returns or City Council overspends, this can quickly change.

 It’s up to all of us—citizens and  watchdog committees alike–to help keep the City in check.                                           

Announcing the 2019 Return of The Rink in Downtown Burbank and Holiday Festivities

Downtown Burbank’s most festive holiday tradition for outdoor ice skating and special performances, The Rink in Downtown Burbank, returns from December 12th, 2019 through January 5th, 2020. Transforming the corner of N Third Street and E Orange Grove Avenue into a magical winter wonderland for skaters of all ages, The Rink is a great way to celebrate the holidays!

The Rink will be open Sunday thru Thursday from 10:00am – 10:00pm, and Friday and Saturday from 10:00am – 11:00pm. Admission is $12, skate rentals are $5, and ‘Bobby the Seal’ skate-aid rentals are $8. For even more fun, the Rink is just steps away from hundreds of shops and restaurants decked out for the holiday season, including a festive 36-foot-tallwalk-thru holiday tree, making Downtown Burbank a holiday wonderland. Other special Downtown Burbank holiday festivities include:

  • The Mayor’s Tree Lighting – Saturday, December 7th 6:00pm on the steps of City Hall at 275 E Olive Avenue
  • Breakfast with Santa – Saturday, December 14th 8:30am – 10:00am. Enjoy breakfast with Santa, holiday music, crafts, and fun at the Burbank Town Center. Tickets are $13 each, call 818-238-5435 to purchase a ticket or for more information.
  • Learn to Ice Skate – Classes taught by Pickwick Ice Center instructors are available on Saturdays for $25, lessons include skate rental and skate session entry.
  • Learn to Curl – With Hollywood Curling on December 15th and January 5th, admission is $20.

Also, on Saturdays from 8:00am to 12:30pm, be sure to visit Downtown Burbank’s Farmer’s Market located across the street from The Rink, behind the Community Services Building.

Free parking is available at several structures and lots in Downtown Burbank.

For further information, call (818) 238-5180, or visit www.DTNBUR.com

Mayor’s Tree Lighting Jump Starts Burbank Holiday Spirit

Burbank Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy, along with some very special guests, welcomed City residents to kick off the holiday season with the annual Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting on Saturday, December 7, on the steps of City Hall.

Gabel-Luddy was joined onstage by fellow City Councilmembers Jess Talamantes, Bob Frutos, Sharon Springer and Tim Murphy, along with State Senator Anthony Portantino’s rep Arda Tchakian, and special guest Congressman Adam Schiff.

(Photo By Ross Benson)

The night featured musical performances by a capella group Muses from John Burroughs High School and dance performances in the spirit of the season by RC Dance Studio and Garri Dance Studio.

Gabel-Luddy said, “Burbank is one of my favorite places to be, and I am so happy to be at such a great event again this year.”

One of Burbank’s official sponsors, Disney Studios, sent out Minnie and Mickey Mouse, who arrived in an authentic 1960’s Mustang to make the whole holiday experience even more cheerful. A few minutes later, Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus arrived on a fire truck and then walked down the red carpet to the stage to greet everyone.

(Photo By Ross Benson)

Finally, it was time to light the tree. Suspense was building up, and then all of a sudden, everyone in attendance cheered when the light of the tree glistened in the night sky.

Santa and Mrs. Claus stayed on site until 8:00 p.m. to hear young children’s Christmas wishes.

Woody Martin, a local resident, said “In my opinion this was an amazing Christmas time event, the entertainment was very good. There is only one thing I would like to see next year and that is a bigger tree.”