Candidates for re-election, Jess Talamantes and Bob Frutos will soon suggest to voters we need big developments to balance our budget. But what happens after these large developments are finished? Well, naturally a much higher demand on city services like our water, power and refuse collection. Imagine when “I Heart Burbank” is completed. One thousand new apartments across the street from Burbank High School. Aside from the increased traffic in the area, imagine just the water requirements for all those toilets! How can increased strain on our infrastructure save us money? The answer is easy – it can’t. What we need on the city council are people who look out for the bottom line of the city not their developer friends. Case in point: Talaria. The council had an opportunity to sell land to the developer at the fair market value of close to $4 million. What Jess and Bob did was vote to sell the land for $1.2 million. That’s 2.5 million dollars we could have used right about now. Bad decisions won’t balance the budget.
The sale price of the city’s property — which an appraiser valued at just under $1 million on the low end and $3.7 million on the high end — was another point of contention Gordon raised during the council’s discussion.
He argued that because the land is critical to the developer’s plans, “it’s absolutely worth every penny” of the nearly $4-million valuation.
The $1.2-million purchase price represented a steep discount of around 70% because of the irregular shape and location of the plots, which include part of Avon Street, an alley and a strip of land on the proposed site, according to city staff.
City Manager Mark Scott cautioned against setting a precedent of selling such “remnant” properties for the maximum appraisal price, but said it was up to the council. He said staff opted for a public discussion of the sale price knowing it might get “awkward.”
Gordon said he would have considered a discounted price, just not as steep as what staff proposed. However, the council did not opt to seek a higher sale price.
“If there ever was a giveaway, that’s a giveaway,” Gordon said.