Burbank Reiterates High-Speed Rail Concerns

First published in the Jan. 15 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

Burbank representatives will continue to press the California High-Speed Rail Authority on their apprehensions regarding the project, the City Council decided this week.
Council members voted 4-0 Tuesday to approve a comment letter to the authority ahead of its Wednesday, Jan. 19, meeting. The letter lists multiple issues city officials have with the state’s high-speed “bullet train” project, most of which are reiterated concerns they say the authority has failed to fully address.
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Council OKs Greater Oversight on Housing

First published in the Jan. 8 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

The Burbank City Council adopted a policy that gives itself a supervisory role over residential projects that are potentially eligible for a streamlined process.
The council’s 3-2 decision Tuesday comes after months of discussions regarding the body’s potential review authority over housing proposals submitted through California Senate Bill 35. The law prevents cities and other jurisdictions from denying certain residential applications as long as they comply with objective municipal development standards, such as density limits.
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Council to Review ‘Discriminatory’ Ordinances

First published in the Dec. 25 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

Following a recent request from a Burbank City Council member, the panel could remove some ordinances advocates say discriminate against the LGBTQ community.
During the Dec. 7 City Council meeting, during which then-Mayor Bob Frutos retroactively declared Nov. 13-19 as Transgender Awareness Week, a few community members raised the issue of the ordinances. At the end of the meeting, Councilman Nick Schultz asked city staff members to look into repealing the provisions from Burbank’s municipal code.
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City Discusses Increasing Development Fees

First published in the Dec. 18 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

The Burbank City Council this week moved toward raising the fees charged for new development, a change that would boost funding for public improvements.
Burbank has not updated its development impact fees — or DIFs — since 1993, though they rise annually with the cost of inflation. Cities can set DIFs, a Community Development Department official told council members on Tuesday, to compensate for the burden a project has on their systems. For example, Burbank used DIF funds to pay for designs for a new central library, which representatives said is needed to accommodate the city’s projected population and job growth.
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Talamantes Takes the Reins as Mayor

First published in the Dec. 18 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

Jess Talamantes, the Burbank City Council’s most veteran member, was unanimously appointed by his peers this week as the city’s mayor for the next year.
Talamantes, who previously served as mayor in 2011-12 and 2016-17, returned to the role during the council’s annual reorganization meeting on Monday. Continue reading “Talamantes Takes the Reins as Mayor”

Christmas Comes to City Hall

First published in the Dec. 11 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

The City Council hosted a festive event for the mayor’s tree lighting ceremony at Burbank City Hall on Saturday, Dec. 4. Councilman Nick Schultz, Mrs. Claus, Vice Mayor Jess Talamantes, Mayor Bob Frutos, Councilwoman Sharon Springer, Councilman Konstantine Anthony and Santa himself attended the event, which included musical and dance performances.

Officials Discuss Speeding Prevention Measures, Plans

First published in the Dec. 11 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

The City Council recently directed city staff members to adjust the traffic signal timing on Glenoaks Boulevard, one idea out of many raised to control reckless driving.
The change, which Public Works Director Ken Berkman told council members Tuesday will take a few weeks, could effectively cause motorists driving faster than Glenoaks’ speed limit during non-peak hours to encounter red lights more frequently.
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Proposal Aimed at Reining In Mylar Balloons

First published in the Oct. 16 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

The Burbank City Council advanced a potential ordinance this week that would severely restrict the sale of metallic balloons, a policy that the local utility believes would reduce power outages.
The potential ordinance, which the council unanimously approved on Tuesday, would ban the local sale of balloons made of “electrically conductive materials” — commonly called by the brand name Mylar — unless the balloon is filled with air and attached to a post or other decorative structure.
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Council Rejects Parcel Tax Idea After Fierce Debate

First published in the Oct. 2 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

Following an intense discussion, the Burbank City Council voted this week not to pursue a ballot measure that would tax the city’s biggest parcels to fund the school district and municipal services.
Little information regarding the potential tax was available at the council’s Tuesday meeting, as city staff members had brought only a first-step agenda item to gather input from the group about how — and whether — to craft it. If approved by both the council and more than two-thirds of Burbank voters, it would likely have taken aim at the parcels on which Burbank’s major corporations, such as Amazon and Warner Bros., are located.
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City Revenue Likely Lower Than Expected, Officials Say

Revenue for Burbank’s municipal government is projected at lower levels than previously anticipated, city staff members said this week, due mostly to underwhelming tax receipts during the pandemic.
In a report to the City Council on Tuesday, interim financial services director Jennifer Becker said projections for this fiscal year’s sales tax revenue dropped nearly $2.45 million compared to the estimate given during the first-quarter update in October. Projections for revenue from the transient occupancy tax, also called a “hotel bed tax,” decreased by $2 million.

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