The Executive Yuan set a goal of reducing the number of third-level local governments from 368 to between 100 and 150 yesterday, one week after approving the upgrade of Taipei County, the merger of Kaohsiung County and the municipality of Kaohsiung City, the merger of Taichung City and Taichung County, and the merger of Tainan City with Tainan County.
Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) told Minister Without Portfolio Tsai Hsun-hsiung (蔡勳雄) during yesterday’s Cabinet meeting to coordinate the necessary changes to rules and regulations for the restructuring program.
Local governments should fully cooperate with the Executive Yuan to make sure the mergers and status changes will be completed by Dec. 25 next year, Minister of the Interior Liao Liou-yi (廖了以) said after the meeting.
At that point, Taipei City and Kaohsiung City and the other 23 counties and cities will be remapped into five municipalities and 17 counties and cities. The five municipalities will be: Taipei City, New Taipei City (now Taipei County), Taichung City/County, Tainan County/City and Kaohsiung County/City.
The administrative borders of townships and villages in the revamped areas will have to be redrawn because of differing regulations. The biggest difference is that districts chiefs in a municipality are appointed by the city mayor, while heads of counties and cities in counties and cities are elected by popular vote.
The central government, however, has not yet decided whether to apply the current regulations to the new municipalities.
Liao said that remapping the borders of townships and villages is a necessity in view of the significant population gaps in different townships and villages.
“Some townships or villages might have 10,000 residents, while Banciao has 550,000 residents. If the maximum population is set between 200,000 and 300,000, we can reduce the total number of [the third-level governments] to between 100 and 150,” Liao said.
Population would not be the only determining factor, he said.
The government will also promote cooperation between the existing localities by grouping them into seven blocs: Taipei, Keelung and Ilan; Taoyuan, Hsinchu and Miaoli; Taichung, Changhua and Nantou; Yunlin, Chiayi and Tainan; Kaohsiung and Pingtung, Hualien and Taitung; and Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CNA