Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City councilors yesterday criticized the Taipei City Government for what they said was its avoidance of the council’s supervision of a budget of more than NT$40 billion (US$ 1.3 billion) for hosting the Summer Universiade in 2017, expressing concerns about the international event’s impact on the city’s finances.
Taipei City will draft a NT$42.5 billion budget to host the Universiade, an international sporting event for university students, in 2017, with the central government responsible for a NT$340 million share of the expenses.
The appropriation of the central government’s money requires approval from the Taipei City Council. However, Taipei Deputy Mayor Timothy Ting (丁庭宇), who handles appropriations, has refused to present a report on budget spending to the city council’s Finance and Construction Committee, members of the committee said.
“The budget of the Summer Universiade is three times the budget of the Taipei International Flora Expo and the city government has failed to explain the details of such a huge budget. This is unacceptable,” DPP Taipei City Councilor Chien Yu-yen (簡余晏) told a press conference yesterday.
DPP Taipei City councilors Kao Chia-yu (高嘉瑜) and Chiang Chi-ming (江志銘) also challenged Ting over his failure to attend the committee’s meetings and said the committee would not approve the appropriation if the city government failed to offer an explanation.
Ting, who declined to attend the press conference, was later found at a private meeting with Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City Councilor Angela Ying (應曉薇) at the council.
When confronted by DPP councilors over his failure to attend the press conference, Ting said it would be “inappropriate” for him to present a finance report on the Games at the council as he was deputy mayor, and that reports on the Summer Universiade should be made by the organizing committee of the event, which has yet to be established.
The DPP councilors lambasted Ting for what they described as irresponsible comments and vowed to keep a close eye on the budget for the event.
“Of the general budget, the domestic promotion of the event alone accounted for NT$60 million and with the Games still several years away, the money could be used to promote Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin’s (郝龍斌) job performance. We will not allow such a waste of money,” Chien said.
Taipei beat Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, in December last year to secure the right to host the 2017 Summer Universiade. The Games will be the largest international event hosted by Taipei since the Summer Deaf-lympics in 2009 and the Taipei International Flora Expo in 2010.