The Taipei City Government has listed a budget of NT$609 million (US$20 million) to host the National Games next year — a sum of money larger than the total amount spent hosting the sporting event three times before — a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City councilor said yesterday, urging the city government to cut the budget.
The six-day National Games are held every two years and they were last held in Changhua County last year with a budget of NT$252 million, while the budgets of the previous two events — in 2009 and 2007 — stood at NT$190 million and NT$156 million respectively.
DPP Taipei City Councilor Lin Shih-tsung (林世宗) slammed the city government for inflating the budget proposal, with expenditure on promoting the event costing NT$44 million alone. Lin also urged the city not to follow the “mistake” of Dreamers (夢想家), a musical sponsored by the government last year that caused public outrage after it cost NT$200 million wand it ran for only two days.
“The city government failed to learn from the costly musical and has inflated the National Games’ budget, which will cost the city about NT$100 million per day. It’s unimaginable that the hosting of the National Games will cost so much more in Taipei than in other cities,” Lin said at the Taipei City Council.
Under the budget proposal, drafted by Taipei City’s Department of Sports, the budget for sports venues and competition facilities has hit NT$150 million. Expenditure on firework shows at the opening and closing ceremonies stands at more that NT$5 million, while the budget for meals for event staff is set at NT$15 million.
Department commissioner Ho Jin-liang (何金樑) responded by dismissing the councilor’s accusations and insisted that the department had not inflated the budget.
He said the organizing committee decided to use new venues for the event instead of using existing sports facilities at public schools because this would mean the schools would be forced to cancel certain classes.
“Living expenses in Taipei are higher than other cities and so our budget for meals, transportation and accommodation for staff and athletes will be higher,” he said