1. Thank you, staff members of the Tainan City Government, for your dedication to your duties during the five-day Qingming Festival holiday
The beautiful weather during the five-day holiday last week drew large crowds of tourists to Tainan City and residents returning for tomb sweeping, filling up every bus from the train station to downtown. Although traffic jams occurred in several major tourist destinations, overall traffic conditions in the city were relatively positive. I would like to thank the departments and district offices for their efforts, and especially the staff members who remained on duty during the holiday. Thank you for ensuring a safe and smooth vacation for the citizens and tourists. Your spirit of public service is admirable and deserves recognition. Again, thank you for all of your hard work.
2. The standard housing price has been announced with a minimum legal effect of three years
(1) The standard housing price was reevaluated and announced by the Real Estate Assessment Committee in 2016. The new standard applies to house tax collection during a three-year period from 2017 to 2019. No reevaluations shall be conducted within three years of the announcement. In other words, the new standard has a legal effect of three years, and it cannot be altered by any executive order. The Tainan City Government will consolidate suggestions from various fields as reference for the Real Estate Assessment Committee in conducting reevaluations following 2019.
(2) In 2010, the Ministry of Finance interpreted relevant laws and regulations and stated that the new standard unit price is only applicable to new houses. As a result, houses that received usage permits after the date of enforcement were subject to substantially higher annual taxes than those that received usage permits prior to the date of enforcement. The new standard was overly arbitrary and unfair, violating the principle of fair taxation. To resolve this problem, the Ministry of Finance retracted its previous interpretation in 2014 and subsequently allowed local governments to determine which principles to employ. To ensure a fair outcome, the Tainan City Government formed a Real Estate Assessment Committee comprising 13 to 16 members to conduct house price evaluations. The committee is a collegial committee, where decisions cannot be made by a single member. To ensure fairness, house tax should not differ based on the age of a house, as both old and new houses enjoy infrastructure services. However, old houses depreciate over time. Therefore, house tax adjustments for old houses were less than that for new houses and conducted in accordance with Construction Cost Index discounts announced by the Executive Yuan.
(3) More than 890,000 households in Tainan City are subject to house tax in 2018, of which approximately 110,000 households are affected by the adjustments, accounting for 12.5% of all households. Additional house tax for previous years is not collected; rather, changes only apply to the current taxation process. In short, these adjustments do not violate the principle of nulla poena sine lege or the Tax Collection Act. The Tainan City Government adopts a responsible attitude and employs policies in accordance with relevant laws and regulations.
(4) Adjustments to house tax were launched in 2014 in all of the other five special municipalities. In contrast, the Real Estate Assessment Committee of Tainan took time to carefully consider the fairness and rationality of adjustments before employing these adjustments in 2016. House tax adjustments had a smaller impact on Tainan compared to the other five special municipalities, and the Tainan City Audit Division, National Audit Office, has also expressed support for the Tainan City Government's approach. The additional tax income following adjustments to house tax is directly used for preschool education, infrastructure, and housing for the underprivileged and not towards other administrative expenses. Therefore, I kindly ask for citizens to understand the necessity of these adjustments.
1. The Research, Development and Evaluation Commission’s report on the results of Tainan City’s participation in the Intelligent Community Forum’s Intelligent Community Awards (refer to written sources for details)
Decision: Approved for reference filing.
(1) Thank you, Chairperson Chao, for your report. Tainan City participated in the Intelligent Community Forum’s (ICF) 2018 Intelligent Community Awards and was selected among 400 cities worldwide as a Smart 21 Community during the first stage. During the second stage, Tainan excelled yet again and was named one of the Top 7 Intelligent Communities worldwide. Going forward, Tainan will contest in the third stage of selections, of which the winning city will be named Intelligent Community of the Year. Representatives from Tainan City have been invited to receive the ICF's award in the UK in June of this year. The award ceremony not only serves as recognition of Tainan's efforts in the field of smart cities but also encourages Tainan and offers Tainan the chance to engage in exchanges with smart cities and businesses from around the world. The fact that Tainan is among the ranks of the most intelligent communities in the world is also a testament to the efforts that we have invested in smart city development over the years. I would like to thank the Research, Development and Evaluation Commission, the Smart Development Center, and staff members of concerned departments for their great work in this field.
(2) The Tainan City Government utilizes smart technology to introduce a sense of modernity to Tainan, which is well-known as a historical city. In 2011, the Smart City Project in Greater Tainan was launched under the framework of the Ten Flagship Projects. In 2015, the Tainan City Government began promoting a 4G Smart City Project, where the government, industries, and academia collaborate to outline a blueprint for a variety of aspects, including smart governance, smart disaster prevention, smart transportation, mobile learning, smart healthcare, smart tourism, and industry upgrading for new farmers’ brands. The objective of this blueprint is to fuel local industry upgrading and sustainable development. These projects demonstrate the Tainan City Government’s vision of “using technology to solve citizens’ problems, rather than using technology for the sake of technology,” which is the core concept to smart city development. By doing so, Tainan can truly realize its visions of becoming a cultural capital, low carbon city, smart city, and tourism paradise.
(3) The ICF's theme for the 2018 awards program is "Humanizing Data," which places emphasis on how open data can be used to elevate citizens' health, safety, and welfare, or how data can be used to create opportunities and incentives for cities. Tainan City has rather remarkable achievements in applying smart technology to disease prevention, disaster prevention, and public pipelines. Thus, we should continue to adopt an open mindset, use big data as a basis, incorporate innovation and value-added applications in the private sector, and conduct data analysis and visualization to facilitate policy-making, which will greatly benefit Tainan’s urban governance.
(4) ICF chairman and co-founder John G. Jung is scheduled to visit Tainan City on April 23 and 24. I urge all departments to collaborate in demonstrating the progress and achievements of various smart city initiatives in Tainan City, with the ultimate goal of being named as Intelligent Community of the Year and transforming Tainan into an international city.
(5) I would like to ask Deputy Secretary-General Hung to oversee the various departments in compiling shared data in the fields of household registration, land administration, urban planning, building administration, and taxation, thereby solving interdepartmental issues for citizens. I would also like to ask Deputy Secretary-General Lee and the Finance and Local Tax Bureau to discuss possibilities for increasing iPASS and mobile payment access, thereby reducing the use of cash. The Tainan City Police Department can observe New Taipei City’s surveillance system and add a facial recognition system to Tainan’s surveillance system. Please also assess the feasibility of using drones as a supporting tool for police patrols. Finally, I would like to ask the Fire Bureau to determine the feasibility of using drones for scouting fire sites.
2. The Water Resources Bureau’s reports on Tainan City’s recent water supply situation and on the progress of flood prevention work in 2018 (refer to written sources for details)
Decision: Approved for reference filing.
(1) Precipitation was scarce during the second half of 2017, which led to droughts across Taiwan. As of August last year, precipitation in major reservoirs in Southern Taiwan was only 50% of the past average. Furthermore, the Central Weather Bureau's forecasts suggest that precipitation in the following season (April to June) is also expected to be lower than average. Therefore, the Water Resources Agency, Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), turned the water supply monitoring light for Tainan to “green,” indicating tight supply. As the weather is beginning to turn hot, we are expected to enter a seven-month phase with high risks of flooding, which demands additional flood-prevention measures. Climate change has brought about extreme weather; therefore, Tainan must simultaneously enhance its drought and flood prevention measures. It is better to be safe than sorry; thus, I urge the staff members of the Tainan City Government to hold a discretionary attitude toward drought and flood prevention and be fully prepared for any unexpected extreme weather events.
(2) To keep up to date regarding precipitation problems, the Water Resources Bureau should take part in drought prevention conferences on all levels held by the Water Resources Agency, MOEA, and the Southern Region Water Resources Office. Please continue to monitor precipitation levels and report accordingly. In addition, I would like to ask the Bureau of Economic Development to continue preparing and testing emergency water sources such as drought-prevention wells. I would also like to ask the Secretariat, the Department of Information and International Relations, and the Bureau of Education to continue to promote water conservation measures. The Tainan City Government will employ water restrictions or other contingency measures simultaneously with the central government.
(3) In terms of flood prevention work, the report showed that as of the end of last year, the Water Resources Bureau has completed key water treatment projects in regions prone to flooding. These projects include drainage treatment in Madou District, the Xiwei Drainage Basin in Anding District, drainage treatment in Haiweiliao, and the renewal of pump station units in coastal regions. Concerning drainage treatment projects and bridge improvement works in bottleneck regions, I ask the Water Resources Bureau and Public Works Bureau to center supervision efforts on flood prevention measures. In addition, I also urge the central government to give extra care to ongoing drainage construction work and flood prevention measures in regions that fall under the central government’s jurisdiction.