It has been announced earlier that service and conservancy charges (S&CC) at all 15 People’s Action Party (PAP) town councils (TCs) will be increased from tomorrow (1 Jun) for the second time in two years.
The 15 PAP Town Councils involved are:
- Ang Mo Kio
- Bishan-Toa Payoh
- Chua Chu Kang
- East Coast-Fengshan
- Holland-Bukit Panjang
- Jalan Besar
- Marine Parade
- Marsiling-Yew Tee
- Nee Soon
- Pasir Ris-Punggol
- Tanjong Pagar
- West Coast
PAP TCs have said that the increase is to “keep up with rising maintenance costs”. The increase will affect HDB flats, shops, offices, markets and cooked food stalls.
Phased over two years, the second tier increase takes effect tomorrow:
- HDB flat owners – $0.50 to $8 per month
- Commercial property owners and tenants – $0.05 to $0.21 psm per month
- Market and food stalls – $2.50 and $17.50 per month
So in all, the increase to the S&CC over the two rounds of increment can be said to be:
- HDB flat owners – $1 to $17 per month
- Commercial property owners and tenants – $0.14 to $0.48 psm per month
- Market and food stalls – $5.20 and $40.50 per month
“The adjustments will enable the PAP town councils to build up their Sinking Funds to replace old lifts, undertake essential cyclical maintenance and component replacements, and carry out the Lift Enhancement Programme,” PAP TCs said.
“Expenditure requirements in these areas are significant and will continue to grow as our estates get older.”
Residents who face difficulties paying their S&CC will be assisted, PAP TCs added.
In addition, the government would also provide S&CC rebates to HDB dwellers but only for 2-3 months.
Ang Mo Kio Town Council Funds increase to $159 million
Meanwhile, according to the latest annual report from Ang Mo Kio Town Council which is under PM Lee’s GRC, its total TC funds have increased from $154 million in 2016 to $159 million last year (FY ending at 31 Mar).
The greatest increase comes from the accumulated surplus contributed by HDB flat owners, from 3.6 million to 6.5 million or about close to 80% increase.
Editor’s note – Before anyone comes to use lift upgrading to justify the increase of S&CC charges, I note that the lift upgrading seems to be only an upgrade of the lift cabin and not the motor. The expense involved is not of a scale of constructing a new lift. One will have to ask how much exactly does the TC spend on its lift upgrading per flat and how much more does it pay to maintain its lift. Also, it is the problem of the residents if HDB chooses a poor manufacturer, such as the Sigma lifts, which results in high maintenance cost?
Also the TC mentioned “Expenditure requirements in these areas are significant and will continue to grow as our estates get older.”, I can’t say much for lift maintenance but for block cleaning fees, while the cleaning companies may increase their fees, the cleaners at the blocks may not see an increase to their pay. Foreign workers work long hours and pay commission to their agents to come Singapore. As reported earlier, cleaners at town councils can be working as long as 16 hours and 7 days a week with as little to $700 a month. It is unknown if the situation has gotten any better but it is unlikely that the cleaning companies will be increasing the fees appropriately according to how much they pay their staff.
Much transparency is needed with the TCs as you can hardly get any public information on their tenders and awards to contracts, unlike the GeBiz system. TOC’s stance if any is for the TC management to revert back to Housing Development Board to save cost for the residents and to remove politicking via the use of citizen assets as “hostage”.