Reed to discuss State of the City Thursday

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is expected to lay out his administration’s plan for combating crime and tackling major redevelopment projects in his annual State of the City address on Thursday.

In a preview of his speech with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution earlier this week, Reed said that, while the city saw a 3 percent reduction in crime last year and is down 24 percent from the time he took office, he recognizes growing concern among residents that crime is worsening.

Atlanta has set a goal of reducing crime by another 6 percent this year, he said. Toward that end, the city is realigning its police force, trying to boost morale through pay increases for officers and stepping up its communication with residents about crime trends, he said.

“We understand what the perception issue is,” said Reed, also noting, “I think we are going to address it by being much more aggressive on active information from the police department.”

Reed also will update residents on the city’s financial outlook, which he said is more secure as legal challenges to his pension reform have been resolved. He also plans to discuss multiple real estate dealings and the progress on the $250 million infrastructure bond project launched last year.

Reed told the AJC that the city is moving forward with about 200 projects that will chip away at the nearly $1 billion backlog in needed fixes to roads, bridges, streets and city buildings. The mayor said he also anticipates that the city could potentially receive another $25 million to $50 million in state funding for transportation projects.

The mayor is also likely to call for the renewal of the municipal option sales tax, a 1 percent tax that funds water and sewer infrastructure projects. Voters will be asked to reauthorize the tax this March.