Fri, Mar 04, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Greater Tainan Council at impasse on allocations

LOGGERHEADS:Council members have asked for an increase in construction allocations, but Mayor William Lai said the funds should address real needs

By Lee Hsin-fang and Huang Wen-huang  /  Staff Reporters, with Staff Writer

The Greater Tainan Council ground to a halt as councilors and Greater Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德) remain at odds over the amount each councilor is entitled to earmark for constituency construction projects.

Prior to the merger of Tainan City and Tainan County into a single municipality on Dec. 25 last year, each city councilor and county councilor was allocated NT$20 million (US$679,000) and NT$5 million respectively.

Following the merger and the upgrade to become Greater Tainan, the Non-Partisan Political Alliance proposed an increase in the amount, a suggestion that Lai said would be unsustainable for the city’s finances.

“Funding should be allocated reasonably, with each expense addressing a necessity,” Lai said.

The stalemate between the city government and the councilors has so far led to three provisional council sessions being adjourned early without conclusion.

“Some councilors are going abroad and I simply don’t know when the fourth provisional session will take place,” Council Speaker Lai Mei-hui (賴美惠) said.

Lai on Wednesday held a press conference and announced that the Non-Partisan Political Alliance proposed the amount be set at a range between NT$12 million to NT$15 million.

“The legality of the suggested amount is questionable,” Lai said, adding the city’s remote areas may be marginalized if each councilor were allowed the same amount.

The alliance took Lai’s comment as a “declaration of war,” and demanded an apology from Lai for implying there was corruption.

Lai denied implying corruption, stressing that reasonable fund allotments would avoid uneven distribution of resources, helping places that need to be helped.

“My responsibility is to the people of Greater Tainan,” said Lai, a member of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). “There is no issue of apology.”

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