A Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor yesterday accused the city government of forcing other cities and counties to draft budgets and participate in the Taipei International Flora Expo.
Participation in the expo, DPP Taipei City Councilor Hsu Chia-ching (徐佳青) said, had attracted increasing complaints from cities and counties about being required to budget several million dollars and mobilized staff and students for the event.
Taichung City, for example, budgeted NT$2 million (US$63,000) to send local school students to visit the expo as an extracurricular activity. Changhua County Government will also use part of its annual budget to send schoolchildren to the event and establish an exhibition at the expo.
“The Taipei City Government is using other cities’ and counties’ resources to artificially exaggerate the number of visitors and the economic returns from the expo,” Hsu said at Taipei City Council.
The expo, which officially opens on Nov. 6 and runs through April 30, is expected to attract participation from 62 cities from 33 counties. A total of 12 cities and counties around the nation will have their own exhibitions during the event.
According to the organizers, 8 million visitors, including as many as 800,000 from abroad, are expected to converge on the city for the flower extravaganza.
Taipei City Government paid a NT$3 million subsidy to 12 cities and counties to display local flowers and plants at the expo. However, participants still have to pay millions of dollars to mobilize local residents to visit the expo.
Expo organizing committee spokesperson Ma Chien-hui (馬千惠) said the expo was an international event and that local governments had been invited to display flowers and plants indigenous to their areas at the expo.
She said the subsidy would be used to maintain exhibitions during the event, adding that the organizing committee was not forcing any other local city governments to participate in the flora expo.
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