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.
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
DIPLOMATIC MOVES: Beijing is reportedly pressing the state after reports of forming links with Taiwan, while the ministry is also planning to reopen its office in Guam soon A representative office is set to open in Somaliland at the end of this month, at the earliest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid reports that Beijing is sending a diplomatic delegation to the east African country. The ministry on July 1 announced that Taiwan and Somaliland would establish representative offices, following a report by the Somaliland Chronicle Web site. It said at the time that the two nations did not plan to establish formal ties. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has instructed close confidants to explore the possibility of “mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Somaliland Chronicle reported
A Belgian man who tested positive for COVID-19 in Taiwan last week is likely to have contracted the disease in Taipei in late June, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health vice dean Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Saturday reported that the man, who is in his 20s, came to Taiwan for work on May 3 and tested positive on Wednesday last week as he was about to depart. The man in March reported loss of taste and smell, the center said, adding that he worked in Changhua County, but visited Taipei several times,
NEW CASE REPORTED: A man who returned from South Africa on a flight with the nation’s 460th and 461st cases has now tested positive for the disease The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that there is no need to test all arrivals to the nation for COVID-19, a policy the Executive Yuan supports. The center reported one new imported case, bringing the nation’s tally of confirmed cases to 477. The new case is a Taiwanese man in his 60s who on July 25 returned from South Africa, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is also the CECC’s spokesman. The man had returned to Taiwan on the same flight as cases Nos. 460 and 461, reported on July 27, Chuang said. On July 24,