Tag Archives: City of Atlanta

Column: City of Atlanta toots its horn in Fortune special section

By Maria Saporta

Published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Friday, March 8, 2013

In the current issue of Fortune magazine, Atlanta has a 22-page spread just in front of the “World’s Most Admired Companies” — perhaps one of the most coveted spots in the publication.

To celebrate the promotional placement, Fortune invited top Atlanta CEOs and civic leaders to the Commerce Club on the 49th floor of the 191 Peachtree building on March 4, where they were able to witness how the city has grown over the years.
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Atlanta City Council set to grill stadium advocates on why city should help finance it by extending hotel tax

Advocates of a new football stadium are to get a chance Wednesday to try to convince members of the Atlanta City Council that the city should help build a new facility.

The work session, set for 11:30 a.m., will be the first real opportunity for councilmembers to engage the advocates. Councilmembers already have raised questions about how neighborhoods around the stadium could benefit from its construction and operation.

Without the council’s support, Atlanta’s development authority likely won’t be able to borrow enough money to help build the stadium. No funding source other than the city’s hotel/motel tax has been publicly identified to fill the gap between what the NFL and Falcons are willing to pay, and the actual cost of construction.
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Atlanta prepares for its future as it builds its first modern streetcar

By Guest Columnist LEON EPLAN, former commissioner of the City of Atlanta’s Department of Planning and Development

As work progresses on the Atlanta Streetcar, the city has aken a giant step towards confronting its current and future traffic problems.

Construction on the entire 2.6-mile loop will continue until the day the line is open for public travel, now scheduled for spring, 2014. By then, planning for additional lines will have already begun.
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Despite lower bonding limits, new Atlanta Falcons stadium would receive same amount of hotel-motel taxes

It’s time to set the record straight.

Reducing the bonding capacity on the proposed $1 billion Atlanta Falcons stadium from $300 million to $200 million will not impact the amount of taxes that will be invested in the project.

The amount of hotel-motel taxes that would be invested in the project was determined nearly three years ago when the General Assembly agreed to extend the hotel-motel tax collected in the City of Atlanta and in unincorporated Fulton County.
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Gov. Nathan Deal: Would be nice if legislature didn’t have to vote on Falcons stadium-GWCCA bonds

By Maria Saporta

Gov. Nathan Deal confirmed Friday morning that the Atlanta Falcons and the state are exploring options that would not require approval from the state legislature.

But Deal said it is too early to know whether that would be possible.

“We are sort of in a waiting period right now,” Deal said after a press conference announcing a major expansion of AirWatch’s operations in the Atlanta region.
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New stadium deal in the works — bonding capacity could shift from state to the City of Atlanta

By Maria Saporta

A revised deal for a new stadium currently is being negotiated whereby the Georgia Legislature would not have to vote on increasing the bonding capacity of Georgia World Congress Center to $300 million.

Currently negotiations are underway at the Governor’s mansion between Gov. Nathan Deal, the Atlanta Falcons and the City of Atlanta where the bonding capacity would shift from the state to the city.

No matter which governmental entity would end up issuing the bonds for the $1 billion project, the deal would not change substantially. The $300 million bond package would continue to be backed by the existing hotel-motel taxes that are collected in the City of Atlanta. The Falcons and the National Football League would cover two-thirds of the stadium’s cost.
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Atlanta audit: Lax records of $128,000 gift card program likely means no c

Atlanta city departments have spent at least $128,000 on gift cards for city employees to boost their morale, and record keeping was so lax that there’s no way to tell if there were any wrongdoing, according to a new audit by the city auditor.

The audit – to be presented formally on Tuesday to the Atlanta City Council – makes two recommendations to get a handle on the situation. The responsible parties agree with the recommendations: The COO and commissioner of human resources in one instance; and the COO and chief procurement officer in the other.

The gift card program was intended to raise morale among city employees during an era when they had gone for years without raises, according to comments by city COO Duriya Farooqui that were posted on myfoxatlanta.com in October.
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11th Circuit Court upholds earlier ruling against Homeless Task Force

By Maria Saporta

The Eleventh Circuit U.S. District Court has upheld a lower court ruling giving the City of Atlanta a major victory in the federal case involving the Metropolitan Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless.

The ruling was released today — Jan. 15 — nearly 16 months after U.S. District Judge Thomas Thrash had ruled in favor of the city in every element of the lawsuit. Click here for earlier SaportaReport story on Judge Thrash’s ruling on Sept. 22, 2011.

It is yet one more legal decision that has been handed down against the Task Force, which continues to occupy the Peachtree-Pine building in downtown Atlanta.
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Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed tells Kiwanis that ‘surviving is not enough’

By Maria Saporta

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed did not mention to members of the Kiwanis Club of Atlanta on Tuesday that he is running for re-election this year.

But he did make sure to honor a decades-long tradition Tuesday of being the first speaker each year to address the Atlanta Kiwanis.

On Jan. 5, 2010, Reed continued the tradition set by his predecessors, speaking to the group only one day after being inaugurated. And he has followed suit this year.
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Urban Atlanta youth use muscle, risk to master complexities of the harp

Of all the instruments, one of the biggest and heaviest, most expensive and most exotic is the harp. A performer must play each foot and hand separately, using everything but pinkies to create the ethereal notes.

That is the muscle behind the dreamy soundtrack of the Atlanta Urban Youth Harp Ensemble. Most of these young musicians have overcome major disadvantages to master the instrument’s complexity, earn gigs at local weddings and events, qualify for college scholarships and position themselves for professional music careers.
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