Sat, Jan 09, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Taipei budgets negotiated

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Taipei city councilors yesterday voted to reinstate in full the monetary gifts issued to retired city government officials on three national holidays.

Following marathon cross-party negotiations on Thursday that continued until yesterday afternoon, the city councilors took unresolved budgetary items to a plenary session for a vote.

A proposal to retain the NT$2,000 monetary gifts issued to former city government employees at the Lunar New Year, Dragon Boat Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival holidays — which Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) had proposed halving — was passed, with 34 voting for the NT$150 million (US$4.5 million) budget and 27 against.

Meanwhile, a vote regarding a much-debated second reserve fund, for which Ko had requested a record-high NT$1.5 billion, saw the proposal tendered by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus to trim the fund to NT$950 million defeated by a thin margin of five votes. As a result, a NT$1.25 billion figure put forward by the Democratic Progressive Party caucus, independent city councilors and their counterparts from smaller political parties was passed.

However, a budget request of NT$12 million for the UN Habitat forum, which Taipei won a bid to host, was rejected. The denial came just a day after Ko pleaded with city councilors to pass it, saying the event would help boost Taiwan’s international space.

Only 22 city councilors voted in favor of the forum’s budget, while five abstained.

Also deleted was a NT$13 million budget for the 2050 Vision project, which involved a panel of 19 academics and private-sector professionals fine-tuning the city’s urban planning projects, with 33 city councilors voting against it and five abstaining.

Meanwhile, a special project concerning a water price increase was passed by the council.

The proposal for a NT$1.3 increase per tonne of water consumed by entities using between 20 tonnes and 60 tonnes of water each month was cut to NT$1, while a proposal to raise the price to NT$9 per tonne for entities using between 61 tonnes and 200 tonnes of water per month was trimmed to NT$8.5.

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