The Georgia Supreme Court upheld the use of hotel-motel tax revenue bonds to be issued by Invest Atlanta as partial financing of the new Falcons stadium. The ruling affirms an order issued in May 2014 by the Fulton Superior Court validating the bonds and confirms that the actions taken by Mayor Kasim Reed, the Atlanta City Council, Invest Atlanta and the Georgia World Congress Center Authority were all lawful and in full compliance with applicable state laws.

The MARTA Board of Directors has approved a $90.3 million forward bond refunding that will lower the transit agency’s borrowing costs and save nearly $6 million in future interest payments. MARTA is employing a “forward delivery refunding” that allows MARTA to lock in an interest rate today for a refunding taking place in July. In effect, MARTA will retire an outstanding bond issue by using the proceeds of a new bond issue. The new bonds will be issued at a lower rate of interest than the original issue, which will lower debt service payments for the agency. After a competitive solicitation process involving six banking institutions, Wells Fargo was selected as the winning bidder for the transaction, offering a 2.30 percent interest rate on the $90.3 million loan (current rate of 5 percent). The closing date for the refunding is July 1, 2016 and the bonds will have an eight-year term.

Mayor Kasim Reed joined Sally Jewell, U.S. Secretary of the Interior, and Lauren Koontz, Chief Development Officer of YMCA of Metropolitan Atlanta, for a kick-off event on Saturday, March 14, for the Interior Department’s new youth initiative. This event launched a nationwide effort in 50 U.S. cities to increase awareness, support and participation in outdoor programs. Atlanta was selected as one of the first 11 locations for the initiative. “We are so proud to be selected as one of the first 11 cities that will receive federal funding for youth and community programs in parks and green space,” said Mayor Reed. “The City of Atlanta is committed to helping our children realize their full potential. Much like the Centers of Hope, the Interior Department’s new youth initiative will give kids an opportunity to be great.” The next step for the city will be a community-wide summit hosted by the YMCA of Metropolitan Atlanta to bring all interested parties to discuss strategies, priorities and partnerships. The U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s efforts will help leverage resources and support the goals of President Obama’s “Every Kid in a Park” initiative that was launched in February that will provide all fourth grade students and their families with free admission to national parks and other public lands and waters for a full year. In the lead up to the 100th birthday of the National Park Service in 2016, the president’s “Every Kid in a Park” initiative is a call to action to get all children to visit and enjoy America’s great outdoors.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.