This Week’s City Council Roundup: 1/26/2021

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The Burbank City Council met virtually on Tuesday, January 26th, 2021 and opened the meeting with the adjournment of Elaine DeVinna Crane Baird who passed away at the age of 100 in November 2020.  Elaine, who was known professionally as Kay Morley, was one of the original Goldwyn glamour girls and appeared in multiple western movies where she showed off her talent with horses.

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Mayor Frutos made a few announcements at the beginning of the meeting including a reminder that due to upcoming weather forecasts, parking restrictions would begin on Country Club Drive this Thursday at noon to Friday at noon to allow a clear pathway for emergency vehicles.

The City Clerk’s office is accepting applications for a vacancy on the Board of Library Trustees for the unexpired term ending July 31, 2022. The deadline to submit an application is Wednesday, February 24th and 5:00pm.

Los Angeles County is providing free COVID-19 vaccines for the appropriate phases. Right now residents age 65 and older are eligible to receive the vaccine and can register for an appointment by calling 833-540-0473 or visiting http://vaccinatelacounty.com.

During the City Manager’s report, Community Development Director Patrick Prescott, discussed the plans for the re-opening of outdoor dining in Downtown Burbank. A survey of the businesses showed that they would rather have the street open to traffic, so a hybrid approach was created to allow both outdoor seating along the sidewalk and parking lots while still keeping traffic and some parking available along the boulevard. Outdoor dining can begin again in Burbank starting at 11:59 PM Friday.  Tuesday morning following the re-opening, Public Works will be installing k-rails between street parking and the roadway to allow for multiple community outdoor dining areas.

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A presentation was made during the meeting from Marsha Ramos, the City of Burbank representative to the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. The MWD provides service areas with adequate and reliable supplies of high quality water in a responsible way. They also import water from the Colorado River and Northern California to supplement local supplies. In the past year a Regional Recycled Water Advanced Purification Center was opened in Carson in January of 2020 and baseline testing began in July to monitor and plan for future treatment processes. The MWD board authorized $58.9 million on expenditures for the planning and pre-construction costs for the Delta Conveyance System.  California has diverted the lowest amount of water from the Colorado River in the past 70 years and more water has been stored at Lake Mead raising the water level by 9 feet, starting 2020 with the highest ever water storage. 

Two items were proposed on the Consent Calendar, the first being the approval of the City Council Minutes of the Regular Meetings of January 5 and January 12, 2021 and the Dark Meeting of January 19, 2021. The second item, which was to receive and file the annual review of each Planned Development and related Development Agreement was pulled and placed as an agenda item at the end of the meeting because it was noticed by Vice Mayor Talamantes that the last update was done in 2016 and that it should be updated more often. City Manager Justin Hess agreed that the report should be done yearly.  The Consent Calendar consisting of the first item only was unanimously approved.

A report was presented in order to approve an amendment to the agreement with Willdan Engineering for the enforcement of face covering requirements within the City, adding $100,000 to the cost of services to provide enforcement services through May 2021 as needed and to appropriate that money from the General Fund. As of January 25, 2021 a total of 6,723 contacts with individuals have been made by the Willdan enforcement officers regarding non-compliance of the ordinance. This breaks down to 6,043 warnings, 517 refusals to cooperate, and 163 citations. Overall they have seen a high level of compliance and the city is satisfied with the services provided by the vendor. Over the past 14.5 weeks the maximum cost of services has been reached and there is still a need to continue utilization. Of the number of citations only 19 have been paid, 13 were appealed and the others will be sent a reminder for collection.  80% of the citations given were to people residing outside of the city of Burbank. Police have been called out in the case that a person is refusing to leave a business after being told to wear a mask.

Willdan officers are supplied with body cameras but are to not escalate any situations and therefore cannot force anyone to comply with the order. Another $100,000 is needed to cover the next 3 months and the company has been flexible about their hours and being changed to certain hot spots on certain days and times.  The Chandler bike path, Burbank parks, Downtown Burbank, and Magnolia Park is where the focus of enforcement is being held. Council member Anthony brought up the idea to increase fees for people who walk away from the citation and to use the body cam footage to identify those people.  Council member Schultz suggested to increase focus at the intersection of Magnolia and Victory as well as Magnolia Blvd between Buena Vista and Hollywood Way.  He also suggested a hotline number where people could call in directly if they saw someone not complying to the order.

Council member Schultz made the motion to approve the agreement with the previous amendments that Schultz addressed and the council voted unanimously to approve it.  Following that vote, Council member Anthony moved to take a first step to amend the current agreement with Willdan to create an escalating enforcement mechanism regarding people who don’t wear a mask and refuse to comply.

A second report was presented on the consideration of third-party food delivery service fees in the City of Burbank and whether or not there should be an urgency ordinance capping delivery fees. Right now third-party companies are charging upwards of 30% and combined with other fees, can reach 40% of the total sale. Cities like San Fransisco, Los Angeles, and Santa Monica have adopted ordinances that cap fees in order to help protect restaurants affected by the Safe at Home order.  City staff reported that the main anticipated cost of the ordinance would be enforcement and that a further study would be required. Council member Schultz made a motion to have staff return with the urgency ordinance with the following suggestions implemented from council: requiring an itemized receipt to the consumer and restaurant, requirement that the driver’s pay not be reduced due to the delivery fee, and a 15% delivery cap with a total out of the door cost of 20%. Council member Anthony had removed himself from the video conference during the report due to a conflict of interest working for Uber, and disdained from the vote.  The other four council members voted unanimously. 

Finally an annual review of the planed developments and development agreements were presented as introduced in the Consent Calendar earlier in the meeting.  As of now, there are 15 active planned developments in compliance or working to achieve compliance with terms of the development agreement. The report was noted and filed and staff will report back in early 2022 with another update.

The next City Council Meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 2nd.

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