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Measures far from set in stone

Ben Godar

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.

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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

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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

difficult.”

Library officials are finalizing the application, which must be

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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.

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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

approved.

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.


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