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Ranch Purchase, Forest Lawn Water Line in Glendale Budget

June 12, 1986|MARTHA L. WILLMAN | Times Staff Writer

Long-awaited funds to purchase the 746-acre Inter-Valley Ranch for parkland and to build a reclaimed-water line to Forest Lawn Memorial Park are included in Glendale's proposed 1986-87 budget.

The $192-million spending plan proposes a record $19.4 million in capital improvements, described by City Manager James M. Rez as a "one-time bulge in the expenditure pattern."

Besides parkland acquisition and pipeline construction, the city plans to relocate three fire stations, install automatic fire sprinklers in two city libraries and undertake a series of street-widening projects. The capital improvements budget is 37.5% higher than last year's, accounting for most of the proposed $6-million increase in the city's budget, Rez said.

No Bond Debt

Unlike most cities, which finance capital improvement projects by issuing general obligation bonds, Glendale has no bonded indebtedness, said Brian Butler, director of finance. Instead, the fiscally conservative city each year puts half of its sales tax revenues into a capital improvement fund, which totals $40 million, including the $19.4 million this year. Despite the large allocation for major projects this year, $14 million will remain in unallocated reserves, Butler said.

The proposed budget calls for only one fee increase, a 40-cent-a-month jump in residential trash collection fees, from $4.75 to $5.15. The garbage fees have not been raised for two years. All other tax rates and fees will remain the same, Rez said.

City policy requires that the cost of services, such as parking, sewers, trash, water and electric operations, be paid for through service fees charged to users. A higher refuse tax is needed to cover increased operating costs for removing garbage, Rez said.

The proposed budget sets aside $2 million for acquisition of the Inter-Valley Ranch, between Dunsmore and Cooks canyons at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains. The city is seeking another $2 million from the state Legislature to purchase the property, priced at more than $4 million.

Since the early 1960s, residents have fought bitterly to protect the rural hillside area from development. City officials have recommended that an old stone winery with an arched roof, built on the property in 1911 and now used as a boarding stable, be preserved as a historical monument.

Projects Blocked

Several proposed developments have been blocked, including a 283-home project that the council turned down in 1982. Owners of the property have since sued the city and homeowner groups, saying that, if Glendale will not permit development, it should buy the land. Owners have agreed to drop the suit if the sale goes through, city officials said.

Plans to pipe treated sewage water to Forest Lawn in an effort to save fresh water also have been proposed for years. The budget plan allocates $1.1 million to build a two-mile pipeline from the city's water reclamation plant to the cemetery, where an estimated 195 million gallons of water a year are sprinkled over 125 acres of manicured lawns.

The cemetery would pay a lower rate for reclaimed water but would be required to install pipelines to separate reclaimed and fresh water. Cemetery officials have said they favor the plan.

Michael Hopkins, city water services director, said construction of the pipeline in city streets will begin early next year with completion set for June 30, 1987. Reclaimed water from the city's plant now is used at the nearby power plant and is sold to the California Department of Transportation to water freeway landscaping, Hopkins said.

Fire Stations to Move

The city has allocated $3.5 million to relocate the city's main fire station, dispatch headquarters and two other fire stations. All three, the busiest of nine stations in the city, are considered outmoded, too small and poorly located.

City officials want to build a new main station west of the Galleria to replace the headquarters at 210 S. Orange St., which is in a congested area east of the Galleria. New sites more centrally located in their service areas also have been selected for rebuilding Station 22, now at 1505 S. Brand Blvd., and Station 25, at 353 N. Chevy Chase Drive.

The city also had proposed spending $200,000 to install fire sprinklers in the Brand Park Library and to wait until next year's budget to allocate another $350,000 for similar sprinklers at Glendale's Central Branch Library. However, City Council members earlier this month agreed to provide funds for both projects this year.

The action still requires formal approval, which is expected to be granted when the budget is adopted after a public hearing at 2 p.m. June 24 at City Hall.

The only other significant change in the proposed budget was to withhold authorization to spend $70,000 from a public relations budget sought by the Glendale Redevelopment Agency. The agency asked to increase its annual public relations budget from $160,000 to $230,000 to raise community awareness of downtown projects. But council members said they want further information about the promotional campaign before authorizing expenditures, although the additional $70,000 will remain in the budget.

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