BRADENTON, Fla. — Atlanta elected a new mayor after a recount and took steps to make the city eligible to sell $34 million of Recovery Zone facility bonds allocated by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Kasim Reed was declared Atlanta’s new mayor Wednesday after a recount demanded by city councilwoman and mayoral candidate Mary Norwood following last week’s runoff election.

Reed, who stepped down as a Georgia state senator to run for mayor, won 50.46% of the ballots cast in the Dec. 1 runoff election while Norwood captured 49.54% of the vote. Because of the close race, Norwood sought a recount.

On Wednesday, election officials said Reed won the seat, edging out Norwood by just over 700 votes.

Reed officially takes office Jan. 4 and succeeds Mayor Shirley Franklin, who could not run again due to term limits. Franklin, Atlanta’s first woman mayor, was elected to the post in 2001 and reelected in 2005.

Meanwhile, the City Council on Monday designated the entire city as a recovery zone and empowered the Atlanta Development Authority to approve projects that will benefit from the new federal stimulus bond program.

The bonds must be sold by Dec. 31, 2010. The ADA said it would begin marketing the program immediately.

“Designating the recovery zone as citywide provides us with flexibility to attract businesses, jobs, and investment to the city,” ADA president Peggy McCormick said in a release.

At least 100 businesses seeking to relocate in Atlanta are already in the agency’s pipeline, said spokesperson Sonya Moste.

“We just need to call them and tell them we have this new [bond] program,” she said, noting that any business interested in the low-interest financing can contact the ADA.

“Companies that can demonstrate they will add jobs in the short term will be given priority” for the funding, Moste said. “If a company or a developer wants to buy a building, we want them to show or demonstrate that they have a pre-lease and a serious tenant that’s coming in.”

An application for bond financing can be obtained by contacting Gregg Simon, the ADA’s manager of business engagement, by telephone at 404-614-8301 or by e-mail at

The City Council also approved Bank of America Merrill Lynch as the book-runner for the city’s upcoming sale of up to $800 million of airport new-money and refunding bonds.

Rice Financial Product Co. and Grigsby & Associates were designated as co-senior managers while Citi, Jackson Securities, Morgan Stanley, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, and Wells Fargo Securities were named co-managers. No date has been announced for the sale.

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