This Week’s City Council Roundup: 2/23/2021

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The Burbank City Council held a meeting virtually on Tuesday, February 23, 2021 and started the meeting with the adjournment of Tom LaBonge who passed away on January 7, 2021. LaBonge served the City of Los Angeles for 40 years and was an LA City Councilmember for the 4th District from 2001 to 2015.

BWP Drought

Mayor Bob Frutos proceeded with some announcements to the public including an online community workshop for the Burbank Housing Element hosted by the Community Development Department on February 27th from 11:00am-12:30pm. You can attend the meeting via zoom here https://burbankca.zoom.us/j/99610663018.

An online community meeting addressing the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan including provisional measures to reflect city and community measures in reducing greenhouse emissions will be held on March 3rd at 6:00pm. To join the webinar visit https://burbankca.zoom.us/j/92525738473.

During the City Manager’s report, Community Development Director Patrick Prescott gave an update on Raising Cane’s, a restaurant taking over the property at 1750 W Olive Ave, where the former US Bank was located. City staff is working with their outreach team to establish a plan for trash, parking, loitering, hours of operation, neighborhood outreach and monitoring of drive-

thru queueing.

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The Consent Calendar was addressed by City Attorney Amy Albano of an adoption of a resolution authorizing acceptance of the 2019 State Homeland Security Program Grant in the amount of $26,900 and amending the Fiscal Year 2020-21 Budget by appropriating funds. The Consent Calendar was unanimously approved.

Five reports were provided to council through the night, the first being a review from the Central Library Vision Study and consideration of the next steps that should be taken in pursuing a replacement.  Library Services Director Elizabeth Goldman presented the report, explaining that the Central Library was in need of modernization and expansion and had not been updated in three decades. Goldman announced that their study covered current goals, public input, the analysis of three potential sights for the library and estimated costs and value of each site. 

Design Lead Ruth Baleiko also spoke on behalf of the project and gathered five themes from the community through focus groups, open houses and online surveys.  The themes include highlighting the community’s identity, celebrating Burbank’s unique history, capitalizing on future opportunities, investing in Burbank’s next generation, and investing in the city and using resources responsibly. The new site would include sustainable aspects in energy and water and offer more space for collections, technology, seating, individual and group study, collaboration and meeting spaces, accessibility and way-finding, outdoor areas, and staff workspaces.  The existing Central Library is 45,000 SF and the proposed sites would be +/- 65,000 SF.

Site A is a proposed location adjacent to the Community Services Building with an estimated cost of $103.8 million, Site B is adjacent to City Hall with an estimated cost of $107 million and the third option would be to renovate the existing library location at $54.3 million. The next steps would be to publish the report and look for council recommendations to bring back an actual plan with options in financing and expert advise on bringing in the right people. Councilmember Schultz made a motion to construct staff to continue exploring a plan to finance and for staff to specifically look into federal infrastructure grants, public/private partnerships, and land swaps, and to focus on the replacement of the library to site A over renovation. Vice Mayor Jess Talamantes seconded the motion and it was unanimously approved.

The second report to Council was the approval to authorize the Vernal Manager of Burbank Water and Power to execute the Substation Agreement with Catalina Media Development II, LLX regarding a community substation. The presentation was conducted by Bobola Akerson, the Senior Electrical Engineer at BWP. According to the staff report “entering into a Substation Agreement with the Developer will reduce BWP’s initial cost for constructing a community substation. In addition, construction of a new community substation will help BWP to provide reliable power to the project and other developments of the Media District in the future.” Councilmember Sharon Springer moved to execute the substation agreement and it was passed unanimously.

A third report was presented by Financial Services Department Director, Jennifer Becker, of the Mid-year Financial Report FY 2020-21 in order to adopt a resolution amending the fiscal year budget for the purpose of mid-year adjustments. Mid-year revenue adjustments included a sales tax reduction of $2.3 million due to taxable sales down, a transient occupancy tax reduction of $2 million due to travel and tourism numbers down, a $30,000 reduction in transient parking tax due to travel restrictions and limited flight capacity, a $130,000 reduction in interest/use money due to bus shelter advertisement agreements being amended, and finally a $300,000 increase in building permits/license fees from all of the major commercial projects and increased interest in home projects from the stay at home order. Councilmember Schultz made a motion to adopt the resolution of the Housing Authority of the City of Burbank amending the budget of fiscal year 2020-2021 for the purpose of mid-year adjustments. The Council voted unanimously in favor.

Burbank’s Economic Development Manager, Mary Hamzoian, gave the fourth report of the night which was an update on the City of Burbank Economic Recovery Plan. The plan consisted of seven policies including sharing information, promoting businesses, assisting vulnerable members, implementing online tools, updating regulations and policies, helping to improve tourism, and collaborating with government representatives. The staff has been working with the Burbank Chamber of Commerce to create welcome packets for new businesses, collaborating on industry events and entrepreneurial programs as well as launching a “Dine Burbank” marketing campaign. The recommendation consisted of adopting a revised Economic Recovery Plan and to direct staff to host focus group meetings and conduct an additional survey to obtain input and recommendations regarding the existing Economic Recovery Plan, and finally to subsequently return to City Council for further discussion and implementation. 

Taking Councilmember Schultz’s suggestions, Councilmember Anthony made a motion to reprise the Economic Development Subcommittee into the Ad Hoc Advisory Economic Recovery Subcommittee for the next six months with the intent to meet monthly or as needed with stakeholder groups in the city. Those two current members that would be repurposed to the subcommittee would be Councilmember Springer and Vice Mayor Talamantes. Councilmember Schultz amended the motion to imbed and include adding studio groups, the airport, Burbank Housing Corp, and working class consultants to the stakeholder groups and to have regular reporting back from the subcommittee.  Councilmember Anthony accepted the amendment and it was passed unanimously. Lastly, Councilmember Schultz made a motion to approve the revised City Economic Recovery Plan and that was also passed unanimously.

The final report of the night was presented by the City Manager’s office to adopt a resolution of the Council of the City of Burbank sponsoring Assembly Bill (AB) 422 regarding tobacco possession by persons under 21 years of age. The bill would prohibit the possession of tobacco products in people under 21 years of age without a criminalizing penalty but instead allow confiscation and a mandated anti-smoking education program.  Vice Mayor Talamantes made a motion to sponsor AB 422 and the Council voted unanimously in favor.

The next City Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 2, 2021.

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