CINCINNATI — Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval will mark 100 days in office this week.
Pureval, along with the nine members of city council, were sworn into office January, 4. Although Friday marks the 100 day milestone, the mayor addressed the public Wednesday during the weekly city council meeting.
“In many ways, our election in 2021 was historic. Historic because of the make-up of council, historic because of the number of first-time candidates and elected officials who were successful,” said Pureval. “But most importantly, it was historic because we represent a turning of the page, a new day in Cincinnati. Our overwhelming mandate was to chart a new future for our city, now. And in our first 100 days, we have stepped up and taken immediate action to begin that important work.”
Pureval ran on a campaign promising “bold” leadership, with a focus on racial equity, affordable housing and public safety, among other things. He said he believes city leaders have made good on their word.
“We promised bold dynamic change and that’s exactly what we’ve been focused on over the last 100 days. Making historic investments in affordable housing, public safety in keeping and bringing jobs to our region,” said Pureval.
Specifically, council established a designated revenue stream for the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund. It allocated $1 million in ARP dollars to pedestrian safety enhancements. Council has also approved $1.1 million for new vehicles for the Cincinnati Fire department.
On Wednesday, council approved funding to connect three trails on Cincinnati's west side.
Each of these initiatives reallocate dollars from the American Rescue plan.
“Every single one of these proposed expenditures have had a 9-0 vote. The council has been completely on board with all of these issues because they are shared strategic priorities,” said Pureval.
Still Alex Triantafilou, chairman of the Hamilton County Republican Party said there is room for criticism.
“There doesn’t seem to be a long term budgetary strategy of this council. It seems like there is some whimsical spending of these ARPA dollars,” he said.
Triantafilou also noted the “single party” rule the council currently has, with eight of the nine members of council being democrats.
“It seems to me and other observers of this council, that so many of the decisions are made single party rule behind close doors before they are ever really vetted by the public,” he said. “It seems like there’s not any kind of robust debate or discussion in public sessions. It seems like the mayor calls a lot press conferences and decisions are made before the public ever really has a chance to come out and debate.”
The mayor disagreed.
“That’s not true. We’ve been very intentional about being out in the community, talking to folks about the challenges that they’re facing. I’ve done a Mayor’s Night In where we brought in members of the community. Anyone can come in and talk to me,” said Pureval.
Moving forward, Pureval said there will be a continued focus on growing the economy; and doings so with racial equity in mind.
Specifically, he pointed to work on the convention center district.
“The convention center district is a critical short term economic development project for our city, not just expanding the convention center, not just creating a convention center hotel, but an entire district around the convention center,” he said.