This Week’s City Council Roundup 1/5/2021

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The Burbank City Council met virtually on Tuesday, January 5th, 2021 for the first council meeting of the new year. Mayor Frutos opened the meeting with a few announcements. A workshop is being held for the Downtown Burbank Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Specific Plan. The Virtual Visioning Workshop is to be held on Thursday, January 21 and the public can find more information on it at www.downtownburbanktod.com.

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The City Clerk’s office is open again for passport services by appointment only. You can make your appointment on the City of Burbank website. The City Clerk’s office is also accepting applications for two open positions on the Transportation Commission Board. The deadline for the first spot is January 15th at 5:00pm and the deadline for the second spot is January 25th at 5:00pm.

Eric Baumgardner, the Emergency Management Coordinator for the Burbank Fire Department, reported on the COVID-19 pandemic in the city of Burbank.  Baumgardner reported that Burbank has been seeing a 1% increase in daily cases which is on par for the county, and a total of 123 fatalities.  Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center is operating at 75% capacity and 85% in their Intensive Care Unit, 50% of which are COVID positive patients. The emergency room has set up a triage tent to keep COVID patients separate from other patients.  Law Enforcement officers are expected to receive the vaccine in Phase 1B which still has no timeline set.

There were three items on the Consent Calendar that were approved unanimously with one motion. The first was to adopt a resolution authorizing the City Manager or his designee to accept grant funds from the State Citizen’s Option for Public Safety Program, accepting $203,473.90 in grant funds, and amending the fiscal year 2019-20 budget by appropriating funds. The second was an adoption of a resolution authorizing submission of a grant application to the US Bureau of Reclamation for the 2021 WaterSMART Drought Response Program and designating the Burbank General Manager to execute a grant agreement. The third item on the Consent Calendar was the approval of the proposed City Council Meeting Schedule for calendar year 2021.

The council reviewed 15 applications for the open vacancy on the Burbank Cultural Arts Commission for the unexpired term and voted unanimously to appoint Lusine Simonyan into term.

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Eric Baumgardner returned to discuss the consideration of establishing a health department in the City of Burbank and the creation of a Health Officer position. We are currently one of 86 cities under the County of Los Angeles Health Department. There are only two cities with their own departments. A comparison was done on the fiscal responsibility that other cities have from their own health department including Pasadena which is around $15 million. A feasibility study would cost the city $25,000 to have done and council member Springer recommended looking at other cities who are currently doing feasibility studies on the subject and to wait until the pandemic was over to move forward. Vice Mayor Talamantes made a motion to direct staff to do a feasibility report for the establishment of a local health department but the motion died.  Council member Anthony made a new motion to bring the item back in 6 months and to include the reports from other cities which passed unanimously.

Lastly an adoption was passed unanimously of an ordinance to authorize and approve an amendment to a contract between the City Council of the City of Burbank and the Board of Administration of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) to include additional employee contributions toward their pension for city council, executives and unrepresented mid managers.

The next City Council meeting is scheduled for January 12, 2021.