BRADENTON, Fla. — Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said March 12 that he appointed a 16-member panel to search for wasteful spending and identify cost-saving efficiencies in city government.

The commission's work will be "instrumental" in proceeding with a bond referendum aimed at addressing the city's $900 million infrastructure backlog without the need for a tax increase, a release from Reed's office said.

Members of the Commission on Waste & Efficiency in Government include city council members, union officials, and business representatives who will identify potential cost savings in city government.

A referendum asking voters to approve $150 million to $250 million of bonds will be placed on a ballot, possibly in 2015, to finance projects such as street improvements, bridge repairs, and traffic light synchronization.

"I pledged during my inauguration in January that we would address our infrastructure challenges in a meaningful way," Reed said in announcing the commission. "I'm confident this distinguished group of public and private sector leaders will help us identify the cost savings necessary to win the public's trust in taking on these infrastructure projects."

The panel is chaired by City Councilman Howard Shook and Delta Air Lines Chief Executive Officer Richard Anderson.

The group will meet four times and recommend potential cost-saving measures by the June 16 meeting at which the City Council will vote on the fiscal 2015 budget.

Reed first mentioned the idea of issuing bonds for infrastructure needs in early 2013, suggesting at the time that the city could support about $300 million of debt. However, the idea of appointing a panel to search for ways to cut expenses in order to avoid a tax increase to secure the new debt did not surface until earlier this year.


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