Taiwan to upgrade Taoyuan County to special city level

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Ministry of Interior approved a motion Friday to upgrade Taoyuan County to a directly administered city on the same level as Taipei, New Taipei, Kaohsiung, Taichung and Tainan.
The decision still has to be approved by the full Cabinet, reports said. It was likely to take effect on December 25, 2014, on the day after the current term of incumbent Taoyuan County Magistrate John Wu expires.
A first application by the county to be upgraded in 2009 failed, but after its population exceeded 2 million in June 2010, certain rules were already made applicable for the area.
Wu attended the final hearings at the MOI in the company of about ten of his government officials, reports said. He welcomed the decision and said the county would spend the next few years preparing for its conversion to an official city.
In English, the new area would use the name ‘Taoyuan’ without adding the word ‘city,’ Wu said, while the existing city of Taoyuan would become known as the Taoyuan area, making sure there would not be any confusion.
Mayors of townships in the county welcomed the MOI decision because it would bring higher budgets for local governments, but said they were concerned about the distribution of the funds and about the imbalance between urban and country areas.
Some mayors were concerned that local indigenous areas would lose their autonomy and have to wait a long time to see practical problems like road and electricity repairs resolved.
County officials said the change of status corresponded to the hopes of most residents, and might bring larger benefits to the population even though a period of adaptation would be necessary.