A New Party Taipei City councilor yesterday accused the city’s Department of Environmental Protection of wasting money with its plan to provide new uniforms for city custodians next year. The plan has a budget of NT$40 million (US$1.3 million) — more than double the amount it spent last year.
The department spends an average of about NT$18 million a year on uniforms for its more than 6,500 street cleaners. However, the budget allocated for the uniforms next year will be NT$40.3 million, under a program to improve street cleaners’ image as part of the city’s efforts to claim the title of World Design Capital (WDC) in 2016.
Taipei City Councilor Wang Hong-wei (王鴻薇) questioned the budget plan and said the council would review the budget carefully to prevent the city government from wasting taxpayers’ money on the World Design Capital application.
“Why would we need to double the budget next year when the number of street cleaners remains the same? Besides, would replacing street cleaners’ uniforms help the city win the title of the World Design Capital?” she asked at the Taipei City Council.
According to the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs, which leads a task force on the application to the WDC, the city government has allocated NT$290 million for next year for the application and divided the budget between various departments for projects that aim to improve the city’s landscape and image.
Department division chief Liu Ming-hsin (劉明興) said the “custodians’ image improvement” project under the Department of Environmental Protection was aimed at making street cleaners more recognizable as part of the city’s image.
Department of Environmental Protection Division Chief Chiu Yi-liu (邱一流) said the new uniforms were designed to use environmentally friendly materials, including recycled bottles, making them more expensive.