Burbank and Glendale may shift alliances away from regional government coalitions and instead focus on the recently formed San Fernando Valley Council of Governments.
The Burbank City Council agreed last week to tentatively withdraw from the Arroyo-Verdugo subcommittee for the Southern California Assn. of Governments, which includes La Cañada Flintridge, Glendale, Pasadena and South Pasadena.
The move comes several months after Burbank and Glendale joined the new San Fernando Valley Council of Governments, which includes the city and county of Los Angeles, San Fernando and Santa Clarita.
Burbank officials say they can save a modest amount of money in the shift — about $10,000 a year — and work more closely with cities with which they share a common interest.
“We have a close relationship with Glendale and Pasadena, and for Burbank it is less so with La Cañada and South Pasadena,” said Greg Hermann, Burbank’s community development director.
For Glendale, the shift would eliminate an administrative burden, as the city provides support for the Arroyo-Verdugo committee meetings and agendas.
“With staff cuts and budget reductions, frankly our interest is getting our work done down here,” Glendale City Manager Jim Starbird said.
Starbird added that the Arroyo-Verdugo committee has been “a bit of a step-child” in the Southern California Assn. of Governments structure.
Glendale Councilwoman Laura Friedman, who serves on the Arroyo-Verdugo committee, said it has not been very active other than opposing the proposed extension of the Long Beach (710) Freeway to the Foothill (210) Freeway.
“I haven’t made any decisions or talked to my colleagues, but my feeling is since I’ve been there that [the Arroyo-Verdugo committee] is not a particularly useful group,” Friedman said.
Even if it disappears, Friedman said, Glendale would continue to work with La Cañada, Burbank and Pasadena on common concerns.
“Whatever way we can make that happen most effectively, I’m all for,” Friedman said.
But La Cañada officials say a move toward dissolving the group might jeopardize transportation dollars received through the voter-approved Measure R countywide tax increase.
A La Cañada city report issued last month warned that as much as $10.7 million could be at risk if the Arroyo Verdugo committee disbands, including $4 million for a sound wall along the 210 Freeway in La Cañada .
But in a letter to the city, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chief Executive Arthur Leahy said Measure R funds would be safe as long as the three cities agree on how to spend the money, regardless of whether the committee exists.
But La Cañada senior management analyst Ann Wilson said the letter did not respond to the city’s specific concerns. La Cañada Mayor Donald Voss said the city recently decided that “there is no advantage” to disbanding the group.
“Our feeling was to leave well enough alone,” he said, adding that the committee remained a valuable forum for discussing regional transportation issues.
This month’s meeting of the Arroyo-Verdugo committee was canceled because of a scheduling conflict. The next meeting date has not been set.