First published in the Oct. 22 print issue of the Burbank Leader.
The Burbank Chamber of commerce, in partnership with the city of Burbank, held its annual State of the City luncheon on Thursday.
More than 650 city leaders, community members and business owners gathered at the Burbank Airport Marriot ballroom to discuss issues relevant to Burbank.
Burbank Mayor Jess Talamantes headed the proceedings, addressing the crowd on the successes that the City Council, local nonprofits and the community have instituted.
The event was attended by city and state lawmakers, police and fire department officials, school board members and staff, nonprofits and many other members of the Burbank community.
“We’re extremely fortunate to live, work and play in a place like Burbank, with top-notch city services, fantastic schools, a healthy job market, dedicated safety personnel, a great airport, beautiful parks. I think you get the idea,” Talamantes said.
The city’s public information office, led by Jonathan Jones, a public information officer, ran the show. The department prepared a documentary style promotional video that highlighted efforts like the Burbank farmers market, homeless services like Street Plus and Home Again L.A., mental health services and more.
“To better serve for those struggling with mental health. We launched a mental health awareness program, which utilizes informational stickers to alert first responders that they may be interacting with a person with special needs,” Talamantes said.
Talamantes also highlighted Burbank’s large-scale resurfacing project. This summer, the city embarked on its largest street resurfacing project in the city’s history. Set to end this month, the city has repaved and restored more than 170 street segments, or 26.5 miles, of roadway.
“After the height of the COVID pandemic, we finally began to regain a sense of normalcy, like today’s event,” Talamantes said. “Once again, we had a full season of summer concerts, and so far in 2022, 3.8 million visitors and paths to Hollywood Burbank Airport. That’s 100% more than last year.”
Talamantes also touched on Burbank’s sustainability initiatives, citing that 90% of the streetlights in Burbank are now LED operated — soon to be 100%. Additionally, Burbank, water and power provided $2 million through ecofriendly rebates and programs, and has implemented efficient recycled water programs.
Talamantes reflected on his career in public service, which will be coming to an end in January when he retires.
“Burbank is made up of giving generous and selfless community members and I am fortunate to experience it all firsthand,” he said. “Thank you the entire Burbank community for all that you do to help make our town so special. And thank you to Chamber of Commerce for hosting this fantastic event and the city’s public information office staff for putting this presentation together. I’d also like to thank my wife, Sandy, who recently retired a couple of years ago after 42 years of service as a nurse.”
Jamie Keyser Thomas, CEO of the Burbank Chamber of Commerce, worked with chamber staff to plan the event. She reflected on the work of the chamber over the past years in her speech.
“We brought our community together to celebrate friendships, to enjoy local food and drink and more importantly, to highlight and honor a number of exemplary organizations within this fine city,” she said.