The prize is presented to a city with model city policies. Hosted and sponsored by Chosunilbo TV Chosun Chosun Biz and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, the Awards were presented to recipients through multiple assessment steps: a preliminary assessment between January 6th and 17th, a consumer survey between January 18th and February 2nd, and an assessment by the Expert Evaluation Committee for two days between March 15th and 16th.
According to the officials of the Expert Evaluation Committee, Gimhae was able to receive the honor because it was the first women-friendly city in the Yeongnam area in 2011 and chosen as a family-friendly agency in 2013. These efforts and achievements enabled the city to receive the prize.
The award reflects Gimhae’s commitments to the Resident-Centered Welfare City, Gimhae, a major theme during the last term of Mayor Kim Maeng-gon. The city increased the budget for families and welfare from 216.1 billion won in 2011 to 240.1 billion won in 2012, 294.6 billion won in 2013, and 334.7 billion won in 2014 (38% of the entire city budget), continuing to expand welfare services over the years.
In addition, the amount of donations the city received jumped dramatically from 900 million won prior to the last term of Mayor Kim Maeng-gon to 630 million won in 2011, 1.02 billion won in 2012, and 1.87 billion won in 2013, increasing 20-fold. The number of donors totals 700.
This achievement is particularly memorable given that the city has been able to overcome significant financial challenges in recent years. When Mayor Kim Maeng-gon launched the last term, Gimhae faced a debt of 271.5 billion won, the second largest among local governments in Korea. In recent years, the city reduced the debt to 133 billion won (a decrease by 51%). In the meantime, the city has secured subsidies of 1.3533 trillion won from the central and provincial governments. The city’s budget has exceeded 1 trillion won for two consecutive years as well.
In recent years, Gimhae has enacted the Safety Ordinance for Children and Women and Support Ordinance for Senior Welfare and Culture so that vulnerable community groups such as women, children, and the elderly can enjoy safe, stable residential living. The city opened the Senior Welfare Center and Dongbu Public Health Branch Office to shore up public health and welfare. The city also opened the Miracle Library, a local library serving children. Furthermore, the city received donations amounting to 10 billion won from POSCO E & C, which was used to build the Gimhae Women’s Center. Opened last October, the center, as a symbol of the family-friendly city Gimhae, will offer a family-friendly environment for local residents.
In his award speech, Mayor Kim Maeng-gon stated, “The prize reflects the unity of city officials and 530,000 local residents to make Gimhae a happy city for vulnerable community groups such as women, children, and senior residents.” Mayor Kim Maeng-gon promised, “The city plans to build diverse welfare infrastructures in each district of the city from Jangyu Senior Welfare Center to Samgye Public Bath for the Disabled and Support Center for Families of the Disabled.” He went on, “The opening of the Gimhae Welfare Foundation next April will help accomplish ‘Resident-Centered Welfare City, Gimhae’ with professional, advanced, and humane welfare services.”