DPP councilor questions ‘excessive’ event budget

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Fri, Sep 25, 2015 - Page 3

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Hsu Shu-hua (許淑華) yesterday questioned the Taipei City Government over the budget it allocated for events leading to next year’s World Design Capital promotion, calling it excessive.

The Taipei Department of Cultural Affairs has allocated budgets for the international event to promote Taipei’s culture and cuisine since 2012, after the city won the bid to host next year’s event.

Hsu said that although the total budget of NT$4.85 million (US$145,820) is much smaller than that budgeted by former Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), it was still high, given that Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) had considerably downsized the event.

Furthermore, the money that went into some budgetary items under the project contracted out to Taiwan Design Center, a non-profit organization, were apparently excessive, she said.

For example, the budget allocated for holding exhibitions overseas amounted to NT$2.08 million this year.

Hsu said that since Ko is always trying to free up capital for the city, he should reconsider the way in which the budget is planned.

In response, Department Commissioner Ni Chung-hwa (倪重華) said the apparently large budget was to cover fees arising from costs for overseas events undertaken by Taiwan Design Center cting Taipei’s exhibition on Taiwanese cuisine at the London Design Festival launched earlier this month.

He said the budget was proposed by Hau’s administration and reviewed and passed by the Taipei City Council.

Department official Hsiao Hui-fang (蕭慧芳) attributed the high exhibition costs to “wide spaces” rented by the department at overseas venues.

In 2013, Taipei won the bid to be 2016 World Design Capital, the fifth city to earn the honor. Torino, Italy, was the first design capital in 2008, followed by Seoul in 2010, Helsinki in 2012 and Cape Town in 2014.

The city government said that it hopes the designation will boost Taipei’s tourism and exposure.