This Week’s City Council Roundup

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The Burbank City Council met virtually on Tuesday, December 8th and opened the meeting with the adjournment of two Burbank community members. Mayor Sharon Springer spoke on the life of Alba Money Jr. (1924-2020) who was a World War 2 Marine veteran and worked for the Planning and Streets Department for the City of Burbank, followed by Reverend William Thomas (1947-2020), better known as Pastor Bill from the Little White Chapel.

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It was announced that earlier in the evening was the City of Burbank’s Mayor’s Virtual Tree Lighting Ceremony.  Performances by school choirs and local dance groups as well as the annual lighting of the tree can be watched from the City of Burbank’s YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uXeZeictHI

The City Clerk’s office is currently accepting applications for the Burbank Cultural Arts Commission resident required unexpired term ending July 31, 2020. The deadline for applications is Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 5:00pm.  

Joe Flores, marketing manager for Burbank Water and Power, provided an update on the Covid-19 Job Loss Bill Credit Program.  The program launched November 1st and the City Council authorized $2 million to be allocated from the Public Benefit Fund.  The funds will continue until June 30th, 2021 or until they have been fully exhausted.  To be eligible for assistance the guidelines require you to have qualified for unemployment beyond November 1st and the account holder must be on the BWP account.

A unanimous vote was held to declare and certify the results from the City of Burbank consolidated general municipal election held on Tuesday, November 3, 2020. The official results of the election with the highest amount of votes are Konstantine Anthony and Nick Schultz for City Council and Krystle Palmer for City Treasurer. Measure RC did not pass.

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City Treasurer, Krystle Palmer, provided a review of the City Treasurers Investment Portfolio Report as of September 30, 2020.  Palmer’s presentation highlighted the impact the pandemic has had on unemployment, business impacts, inflation, housing sales, mortgage rates, federal funds rates and the economic outlook.

Palmer also presented a review of the fiscal year 2019-20 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) and the General Fund’s Financial Status as of September 30, 2020. Measure P has brought in a tax revenue of $23.6 million during the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2020.  $6 million has been expended from the municipal infrastructure fund in FY 2019-20. 

In the report it was stated that the citywide revenue is up $5 million from the previous year, 88% of the revenue is attributed from the city wide utility customers.  The expenses for these utilities is about 50% of the overall expenses.  The General Fund’s greatest sources are property tax, sales and utility tax revenues.  There is a $20 million difference in expenditures from 2018-19 to 2019-20 and that is under the non-departmental category due to an additional one-time CALPERS payment as well as a $4.7 million contribution for the Measure P ordinance.

There is a 38.5% decrease in revenue in service charges such as filming and passport services, but they anticipate a rise in revenue as they reopen these services. The Fire Department was above budget due to reimbursable strike team expenses while other departments came in at or well below anticipated expenditures.

There was a $14 million savings due to the hiring freeze, RDA loan repayment re-aside funds, reduction in training and travel budgets, suspending crossing guards, youths employment programs, and cancelling city programs and events not permitted by the Public Health Department. The report was noted and filed.

David Kriske, from the Community Development Department, presented on the Metro North Hollywood to Pasadena Bus Rapid Transit Project and recommended that the staff approve a Environmental Impact Report Comment Letter as well as working closely with other corridor cities to ensure Metro modifies the project to address Burbank’s concerns.  The project for the Metro NoHo to Pasadena Corridor is a new transit via Burbank, Glendale and Eagle Rock.  Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) projects provide frequent service every 5 to 10 minutes, are faster than regular buses and cheaper than light rails. The Burbank alignment proposed will enter at Pass Ave at the 134 off ramp, then travel down Riverside Dr, Olive and Glenoaks, before exiting the city at Alameda. There are a total of 6 stations proposed along the routes. 

To accommodate the BRT, bus lanes will be made, eliminating some parking and traffic lanes in certain areas but the overall project is anticipated to support housing unit goals and ease traffic.  Changes were proposed to help protect neighborhoods so that they are not effected by the changing of the lanes. The council unanimously voted in favor of the letter and beginning communication with other cities.

Betsy McClinton from the Management Services Department introduced an ordinance and adoption of a resolution of intention 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. (PERS). McClinton also presented an adoption of a resolution amending and restating council member benefits. Staff proposes to increase medical contribution for city council members to the $1610 mark for family plans effective December 2021.  Both items received a unanimous yes from the City Council.

Lastly, the City Manager Department presented an adoption of a resolution supporting local businesses and urging the County of Los Angeles to reconsider the temporary suspension of outdoor dining and to consult cities on actions in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. On December 6, outdoor dining closed down as well as personal services and restrictions on capacity at essential and non-essential businesses took effect. The ordinance goes through December 27th, but the resolution would urge the county to allow outdoor dining again when restrictions lessen in order to assist Burbank residents and businesses.  The council members spoke on behalf on the small businesses and stood in support of the re-opening of outdoor dining when it is allowed.  The council gave a unanimous vote in favor of the resolution.

Mayor Sharon Springer closed the meeting while expressing gratitude towards her fellow council members Tim Murphy and Emily Gabbel-Luddy, who are leaving the council and acknowledged their last council meeting all together. The next council meeting will be on Tuesday, December 15, 2020 at 6:00 pm.