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City’s vision for 2003 blurred by possible cuts

Laura Sturza

Unlike many years, when the city’s top New Year’s resolution was

related to the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport, Burbank officials

in 2003 will be forced to turn their attention to another concern --

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fallout from the state’s budget crisis.

Like cities across California, Burbank officials are holding their

breath awaiting Gov. Gray Davis’ plans for adjusting to the state’s

projected $35-billion deficit. Meanwhile, they continue to plan for

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the buildings and services that will keep Burbank a thriving

community.

The challenge of balancing the city’s budget “is going to be

huge,” Financial Services Director Derek Hanway said.

“I don’t think anybody knows yet how [the state’s deficit] is

going to impact us, but it will,” Hanway said.

Expecting a busy year for his department, Hanway said he also is

mindful he might have a smaller staff to do the work.

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“The focus will be on reorganizing and redistributing duties,”

Hanway said.

In the city’s Human Resources department, director John Nicoll is

braced for up to a 10% cut to the city’s workforce of 1,450

employees.

“Our intent is to ... continue to provide effective service and be

as humane as possible in the job losses,” Nicoll said.

Even with the dark forecast, many remain optimistic about projects

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that are in the works.

By year’s end, Public Works Director Bruce Feng looks forward to

seeing “that families are enjoying the new Chandler Bike Path and

park.”

Feng also wants to keep making progress on the design of the new

Municipal Services Building and the DeBell Golf Course clubhouse so

they “are as successful as the Buena Vista Library,” he said. Public

Works is the department responsible for the earliest work on all city

projects after conceptual planning -- the design phase.

Skateboarders will welcome the new year at their state-of-the-art

facility, scheduled to open Jan. 11, said Mike Flad, director of

Park, Recreation and Community Services.

Flad was joined by City Manager Bud Ovrom, Feng and Vice Mayor

Stacey Murphy in their goal of breaking ground by year’s end on the

2-acre, $6-million South San Fernando Park Project, which will serve

one of Burbank’s most heavily populated and economically

disadvantaged areas.

Advancing business is on the mind of Ovrom and Community

Development Director Sue Georgino, who cited openings of the new AMC

Theatre and Urban Outfitters as highlights of the coming year, along

with helping to attract more business to the Media City Center by

working with its new owners.

Though initial projections of up to $23 million in cuts to the

city’s affordable-housing budget no longer appear likely, other

redevelopment funds are in jeopardy, including subsidies for

businesses interested in filling vacancies in Burbank Village and

funding for street improvements.

Making peace in negotiations with the airport, to mitigate noise

and traffic problems, hasn’t gone off the radar.

“I always have the goal of resolving the airport impasse,” Ovrom

said.


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