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Voters approve policy change

Laura Sturza

Burbank voters approved a measure in Tuesday’s election that will

give residents a say in replacing some city officials, while ballots

cast to increase the transient- parking tax were so close that a

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final count will be in Friday.

Measure O received 5,203 votes favoring it and 2,077 against it,

which means the City Council will no longer be required to replace

council members, the city clerk or the city treasurer, if they

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resign. The city charter requires vacancies to be filled by the City

Council within 30 days, or else the mayor would make the appointment.

The change means that if a term has less than 16 months before it

ends, remaining council members will make an appointment within 45

days. If more than 16 months remain, a special election will be held

to fill the vacancy.

Since it takes 90 to 180 days to put a vote on a ballot, the

16-month time frame was picked to make it worthwhile to hold an

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election, and leave enough time for a person to serve, City Atty.

Dennis Barlow said.

City Council members requested the measure be put on the ballot

following departures last year by two elected officials, former mayor

Bob Kramer and former city clerk Judie Sarquiz.

The city charter required council members “to appoint someone for

well over three years to a position that the people of the city of

Burbank should have elected,” Mayor David Laurell said of the

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council’s decision to replace Sarquiz with City Clerk Margarita

Campos.

If final vote tallies result in the passage of Measure N, the City

Council would be able to raise the transient-parking tax from 10% to

12%, which could help balance the city’s budget to make up for an

$8.6-million anticipated deficit for fiscal year 2003-04.

The measure received 3,976 votes favoring it and 3,942 votes

opposing it, and City Clerk Margarita Campos said she will have a

final count Friday due to outstanding absentee and provisional

ballots.

“We’re facing a huge deficit, and we need to have the ability to

raise funds wherever we can,” Vice Mayor Stacey Murphy said.

The tax has been collected since 1996, and its 10% rate has not changed.

Businesses primarily affected by the tax are hotels and parking

lots near the airport that are frequently used by nonresidents.

An increase could do damage to the state of California, which

depends on taxing a successful business economy, said Susan Bowers,

Chamber of Commerce executive director.

“Taxation is just one more thing that hurts business,” Bowers

said. “The less profitable businesses are, the less money there is

for the state.”


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