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BURBANK : Council Approves Its Own Pay Raise

November 17, 1994|VIVIEN LOU CHEN

Burbank City Council members awarded themselves a 3% pay increase Tuesday, but not before they were lambasted for their investment in the financially troubled Media City Center shopping mall.

The raise from $830 to $855 a month takes effect in January.

Burbank homeowner Mike Nolan, 46, speaking to the council, opposed any pay increase this year. Nolan cited what he called the city's failure to properly oversee its ill-fated partnership with developer Alexander Haagen to build and manage the mall.

"They deserve an 'F' because they failed us," he said after the council meeting. "They negotiated us to a point where (Haagen) gets the sites for an office building and hotel, and some sales tax revenues.

"And in return for that, he's going to give the city a note for $10 million."

Council members have ended the city's involvement in the multimillion-dollar project through a $10-million buyout that becomes final Nov. 26.

Under the original agreement between the Burbank Redevelopment Agency and Haagen, both sides were to split net profits after debt payments, 50-50. No profits have been generated since the mall opened in 1991.

Through a series of other agreements since then, much of the tax money generated by the shopping center has been diverted to Haagen for the next 22 years.

The council did not respond to Nolan's comments, focusing instead on the amount of the pay increase and whether present council members should be entitled to it.

Due to budget constraints, council members gave up their right to a 5% annual pay increase in 1992 and 1993. They settled for a 3.3% raise this year to match those given other city employees.

On a 4-1 vote Tuesday, the council again approved a raise that was less than what they could have received.

Vice Mayor Dave Golonski argued that next year's pay increase should be reserved for new council members.

But others wondered why newcomers to the council should be paid more than experienced members.

"We're in an OK year," Mayor Bill Wiggins said. "We've got room in the budget for a pay increase. In my mind, we didn't take more or less than what we give our employees."

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