Only a half dozen people voiced concerns about the city’s proposed
budget during Tuesday night’s public hearing, but City Council
members agreed with some of the speakers and recommended to remove a
proposed increase to the transient-parking tax.
The hearing gave the public a chance to respond to proposed cuts
as the city braces for a projected $9.5-million deficit in the
2003-04 fiscal year budget. Each department was asked to bring the
council recommendations as to how it would cut up to 10% of its
Burbank Chamber of Commerce President Bud Alleman was the first to
take issue with the proposal to raise the transient-parking tax. He
said increasing the tax, which primarily affects hotels and parking
lots near the airport, was a bad idea at a time when a price war is
going on between airport and privately owned parking lots.
“To raise the tax because the tax base has decreased seems
illogical,” he said.
Alleman also said Measure N, which allowed the council to raise
the tax, was passed by so slight a margin -- 47 votes -- that raising
the tax did not come with a clear mandate.
Following public comment, council members, including Jef Vander
Borght, agreed that the economic climate at the parking lots around
the airport make it a bad time to increase the tax.
“To add this tax is only going to aggravate the problem, and I
feel it could add another nail in the coffin of the small
businesses,” he said.
No formal vote was taken on the issue of the parking tax, but
based on the comments of the council, Financial Services Director
Derek Hanway recommended money set aside from Burbank Water & Power
increases be substituted for the estimated $300,000 in revenue from
the rate increase.
Councilman Dave Golonski, the only member of the council to voice
support for the increase, said with state and local projections
suggesting budget cuts will be necessary for years to come, the city
needs to focus on recurring methods of funding such as the tax
“We can continue to take money out of the BWP set aside, but
there’s an issue of recurring versus non-recurring,” he said.
Council members did not direct city staff to make any other
changes to the proposed budget, which is expected to be adopted at
its June 17 meeting.