Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City councilors yesterday slammed a report by Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) into municipal projects, saying it failed to explain problematic issues, including urban renewal, and urged the mayor to stop investing money in large-scale activities and refocus efforts on local developments.
The 60-page municipal report, entitled Taipei, a Visible City, did not address the city’s controversial handling of city issues, including forcing vendors at Shida Night Market to close and the poor operation of the Maokong Gondola. Issues related to a stalled urban renewal project in Shilin District (士林) were summed up in one paragraph in the report.
“Mayor Hau’s support rate is at the bottom of local government heads according to a recent survey. Taipei is not a city that inspires a sense of happiness in its residents and now the city gives this poor report that fails to address the issues that people care about, including compulsory education and housing justice. Mayor Hau owes Taipei residents an apology,” DPP Taipei City Councilor Wu Su-yao (吳思瑤) said at the Taipei City Council.
DPP Taipei City Councilor Wang Shih-chien (王世堅) and Chuang Rui-hsiung (莊瑞雄) further challenged inconsistent figures for the 2017 Summer Universiade in various budget reports, while Wang presented the mayor with a crown and described him as a “king” who remains ignorant about the public’s pains.
According to Chuang, the first budget report on the international sports event presented in April showed NT$48 billion (US$1.63 billion) in expenses, while the figure was listed as being NT$42 billion in another budget report issued in July. In the municipal report presented to the council yesterday, the budget for the event stood at NT$23 billion, while in the budget report sent to the Sports Affairs Council this month, the budget for the event is NT$20 billion.
“In addition to budget inconsistencies, the city government is also capricious about venues for the competition. For example, the city budgeted NT$2.1 billion to build a basketball arena. However, it said in the report that the basketball games are to be held in the Taipei Arena. Are you presenting such an unprofessional report because you think no councilors will read it carefully?” he asked.
Hau, facing an hour-long boycott on the council floor, defended the budget report and said the city is continuing to devote major efforts to develop the city besides holding international events to raise the city’s international profile.
As to the budget difference, Hau said the budget for the Universiade had been cut because the city decided to cancel the construction projects of two facilities — a volleyball court and a swimming pool — and to use existing infrastructure instead.