The Burbank Redevelopment Agency agreed Tuesday to consider a $15-million bond issue to help finance repairs on municipal buildings, including fire stations that are rapidly decaying.
The agency voted to approve the study after City Manager Robert (Bud) Ovrom said the city should use less redevelopment money to subsidize private-sector projects and more for repair of public facilities.
Ovrom said the pursuit of private-sector projects, such as the proposed Towncenter shopping mall and the West Olive Project Area, has been “extremely productive for the community.” But Burbank has not been putting enough emphasis on “upgrading our public facilities to keep pace with the private sector growth,” he said.
Aging Fire Stations
The city’s six fire stations have suffered the most deterioration, Ovrom said. He pointed out that the two fire stations serving high-rise office areas in the West Olive Media District and downtown Burbank are too small to house new ladder trucks and that the trucks have to be kept in Fire Department headquarters across the street from City Hall.
“Indeed, most of our equipment is deployed on the basis of where it fits rather than where it is needed,” Ovrom said.
Two of the fire stations were built in 1945 and the other four from 1951 to 1957. Minor remodeling was done on two of the stations during the 1970s, but none has had major repairs in more than 25 years, Ovrom said.
Fire Chief Curtis Reynolds said the facilities are inadequate but the situation is not dangerous.
Ovrom said the 25-year-old Burbank police station also is badly in need of more parking, expansion and extensive repairs to remove rusty water pipes and fix a basement area damaged by flooding. He said the Municipal Services Building and Burbank City Hall also need renovation.
The financing plan under study would involve the sale of tax-allocation bonds, which the city would pay off with income from property taxes levied in redevelopment areas. Ovrom said no work will be started until officials iron out details with a bond counsel and bond underwriter, and a more formal proposal is presented to the agency.