“I am hoping that the San Fernando Valley COG [Council of Governments] can do the same thing,” said Glendale City Councilman Ara Najarian, who called the decision to band together with other San Fernando cities “critical and long overdue.”
The proposed makeup of the body’s board includes one representative from each of the seven Los Angeles City Council districts in the San Fernando Valley, one representative from each of the two supervisorial districts in the valley and one board representative from each of the other member cities.
“It’s going to be a good thing. We’ve kind of been behind the 8-ball in terms of coming together on issues with regional impact,” Burbank City Councilman Jess Talamantes said. “Once we form [the coalition], we’ll try to be very proactive in working with other jurisdictions.
The coalition will aim to serve as a regional planning group to coordinate state and federal grant applications for various projects of interest, including housing, transportation and economic development efforts, officials said.
Board action would require unanimous consent to address initial concerns that one member agency could hold greater sway over the other members.
“You carry much more weight when you speak as a member of a COG [Council of Governments] rather than individual cities trying to get something done,” said Najarian, who was appointed to the coalition’s board of directors last week.
Joint-powers agreements are typically tapped when activities naturally transcend the boundaries of existing public authorities.
By combining their commercial efforts, the public authorities can achieve economies of scale or market power, said Greg Herrmann, Burbank’s interim Community Development director.
He gave the example of U.S. Communities, a purchasing consortium of local government agencies.
Glendale and Burbank earmarked $10,000 to pay the organization’s initial annual dues, which will go to support administrative costs.
Burbank City Manager Mike Flad planned to touch base with his counterparts in the other cities to establish how the newly formed council would affect their membership in the Arroyo-Verdugo Cities Steering Committee, a similar regional planning body with representatives from Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena, South Pasadena and La Cañada Flintridge, Herrmann said.
While the business of the new council would be conducted under a joint-powers agreement, Arroyo Verdugo cities operate under a less formal “letter of understanding” agreement.