While Measures L and M were passed by voters this week, it is
uncertain when or even if Burbank residents will see new libraries or
all-mail elections that they voted in favor of.
The passage of Measure L authorizes the city to apply for state
funding to build a new Central Library and renovate the Northwest
Branch Library, but the city will face stiff competition for those
funds. Measure M gauged public support for moving to an all-mail
ballot system for elections, but an ordinance must be passed by the
City Council in order for that change to go into effect.
While she is excited by the passage of Measure L, interim Library
Services Director Sharon Cohen said a lot of work must still be done.
“When we went into Measure L, we knew passing a bond would be
difficult,” she said. “Getting the [state funds] will be equally
Library officials are finalizing the application, which must be
sent to Sacramento by March 28, Cohen said. Approval, if it comes,
is expected to take about six months and the state would pay
two-thirds of the expected $38-million cost. Local property owners
will pay the remaining amount through a tax that would levy a monthly
fee of about $3 for the average homeowner.
This is the second of three application rounds for state funding.
In the first round, only 18 of the 65 cities that applied were
approved, Cohen said.
If the Burbank proposal is not approved, Cohen said officials plan
to reapply during the third round of disbursements. Despite the stiff
competition, she said she’s confident the Burbank plan will be
While the fate of Measure L rests with state officials, the
decision to implement Measure M lies with the City Council.
Outgoing Mayor David Laurell declined to speculate on whether the
City Council will pass an ordinance discontinuing the use of polling
places, but said he does not support such a move. He did predict,
however, that a council vote on such a measure would not take place
until after he leaves office at the end of April.
Since the mail-in process would be the same as was used during a
vote in October 2001, City Clerk Margarita Campos said it would not
be difficult to implement. Because each signature would have to be
verified, she said the process would require more staff time, but
would be worth it for the increase in voter turnout.