By Todd DeFeo
ATLANTA — The city of Atlanta will continue to focus on the fundamentals to continue its positive trajectory and ensure a firm financial foundation moving forward, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said on Friday.
In a speech before the Atlanta Press Club, Reed said the city has turned around its financial condition by focusing on the basics. The city will “double down on doing the fundamentals right,” the mayor said.
“When I think about where we are today (it) causes me to think about where we’re going,” said Reed, who was elected to a second term in November. “We’re going to double down on doing the fundamentals right.”
Added Reed: “We can definitely make the case today that Atlanta has ascended, and that it is definitely stronger than it has been in quite some time. … All of the fundamentals are moving in the right direction because we turned to the basics. And, what happens is, when you get the basics right, the business community responds.”
As he’s done throughout his tenure, Reed struck a regional tone with his remarks. Turning to the Savannah port deepening, a project he has advocated for throughout his first term, Reed said the project is going to benefit Metro Atlanta and demonstrates what is possible when politicians throughout the region put aside their political differences.
“It really is going to change the metropolitan Atlanta region forever when we finish this deepening, and that’s why it was the right thing to do,” Reed said.
“I think that the deepening of the Savannah port was a unique moment where the Atlanta metropolitan region worked in partnership with another great region of the state to achieve a vital objective,” the mayor added. “And, when I think of where we are right now, I think it’s because we really turned in to fundamentals like that; as opposed to chasing shiny objects, we have repeatedly turned towards the fundamentals.”
In touting his successes as mayor, Reed — who joked with the audience that he’s loved being mayor with the exception of two days, which he didn’t disclose — told the audience a government should be responsive and functional. That, he said, wasn’t always the case.
“You ought to have a government that basically functions and runs well,” Reed said. “But, the fact of the matter is that’s not really where we were.
“I remember a time when there were community groups in Buckhead that were contemplating contracting to provide private fire service for their own needs,” said Reed said. “I remember when City Hall closed early in order to save money, and employees were being furloughed and laid off. What a difference five years makes when we come together as a community.”