Words and photos by Taichung City Government,Translated by Cara Steenstra
Five months into his second term of office, Mayor Jason Hu presented his first administrative report of the year, showcasing 12 directives and key developments that are aimed at increasing the city's competitiveness, and allowing Taichung to move forward as a cosmopolitan city of the Asia-Pacific region.
Continuation of city government Animal Protection measures
At the first meeting of the 16th Taichung City Council, Taichung City Mayor Jason Hu emphasized in his administrative report that, in order to avoid a recurrence of the stray dog tragedy, Taichung City had already stepped up its animal protection measures. The Taichung City Animal Quarantine Center has been upgraded to the Taichung Animal Protection and Quarantine Center, which will protect and offer shelter to animals according to animal protection laws.
Mayor Hu said that the stray dog incident damaged Taichung City's image, and that the city government had been working hard to improve related facilities. At the moment, animal protection groups visit and inspect these facilities once every two weeks, and they have been satisfied with the efforts and improvements so far. The city government will continue its improvement efforts, as well as publish its progress in monthly publications such as Shining Taichung and Compass Magazine, so that both local and foreign residents can have a better understanding of how Taichung City has been working to improve its image.
Flourishing, steady growth trends in finance and sports
Mayor Hu continued to point out that, since he came into office, the city government's financial situation had been ranked number one in the country. Its ratio of financial sources has also grown steadily, maintaining an average of 60 to 70 percent. Financial deficits have also decreased. According to the country's debt statistics, only three counties and cities have experienced a decrease in debt compared to four years ago, and Taichung City is one of them. As for the allocation of educational resources, Taichung City has spent as much as 45.7 percent on this area--among the highest in the nation. Taichung City is also the best in the country when it comes to recycling kitchen waste and reducing garbage. An extra garbage collection shift has been put into place to satisfy the needs of Taichung citizens, making the city more appealing as a place to live.
Taichung City has also received widespread recognition for its efforts to promote sports. Mayor Hu pointed out that ERA Public Relations had been appointed by the National Council on Physical Fitness and Sports to carry out a survey of sports in various cities and counties. Taichung city was crowned as the "City that Loves Sports The Most". The city has also won the right to hold the 2006 All Citizens Sports Meet, the Intercontinental Baseball Competition, and the 2009 National Sports Meet. It is believed that these events will raise the level of sports in Taichung to another all-time high.
A flourishing economy and booming real estate
Mayor Hu pointed out that Taichung City's five-star hotel occupancy rate was 86 percent, higher than that of Taipei City. Visitors to Taichung City reached 200,000, establishing a new record. According to city real estate indexes, Taichung City has experienced a growth of 4.16 percent, claiming third place among Taiwan's 23 counties and cities and coming in just behind I-lan County and Taipei City. At the same time, the development of the Central Taiwan Science Park and the impact of the High-Speed Railroad has helped Taichung's real estate market experience a boom, with total real estate sales coming to NT$108.1 billion, 20 percent more than expected. The Precision Machinery Research & Development Park, which has been under planning for years, stopped accepting applications at the end of March and has already attracted NT$33.8 billion in investment from hundreds of industries and businesses, in an indication that Taichung City is still growing economically.
Taichung City has allocated approximately NT$6 million each year since 2002 to deal with drainage systems and prevent floods. Since 2005, this budget has been increased by another NT$2.5 million each year. Usually, there would be over 100 places that would experience flooding but, since the improvements, there are only 19 such locations left. Incidences where neighborhood chiefs and citizens complain about blocked drains and flooding are seldom heard nowadays. The city government is also working with the central government on its eight-year-plan to deal with flooding problems, and will continue to maintain drainage systems and related facilities.
As public safety improves, the Mayor encourages all to continue efforts
Regarding the issue of public safety, which both council members and the public are very concerned about, Mayor Hu said that on April 28, Taichung City held its first ever City Public Safety Forum. Academics, the media and many others were invited to share their views and solutions regarding the city's public safety issues. Mayor Hu believes that Taichung City's public safety is continuously improving. During the forum, the National Police Administration director-general provided information that compares statistics from the entire country. Compared to the rest of the country, Taichung City is number-one in the nation for decreases in the number of criminal cases, burglaries, as well as auto and motorcycle thefts. This is a reflection of how Taichung City's public safety has improved. The city government will continue to allocate a budget for improving policing facilities, while Mayor Hu has also asked city councilors to lend their support in helping the police get their budget requirements.
Finally, Mayor Hu has also proposed 12 major developments, including the Second Stage of Dadu Mountain Science and Technology Corridor, connecting roads to Greater Taichung, the Southern Taichung Cultural New Town, International Standard Baseball Stadium, Broadband Wireless Internet Taichung, Taichung Metropolitan Mass Rapid Transit System, Shui Nan Airport Business and Trading Zone, Central Business District Redevelopment Plan, Zhen Nan Tourism and Recreational Business Zone and others. It is hoped that these 12 directives and key developments will allow Taichung to move toward its goal of becoming a cosmopolitan Asia-Pacific city.