All town councils recorded unqualified financial statements for the financial year of 2019, the Ministry of National Development (MND) found in its Town Council Management Report (TCMR) for that year.
The TCMR results were released on Monday (15 Mar) after a delay attributed to the COVID-19 circuit breaker period last year, said MND today.
Generally, the results of the FY2019 TCMR “are comparable with that of previous years, with improvements observed in the area of Estate Cleanliness”, said the Ministry.
Town councils are evaluated on five indicators, namely estate cleanliness, estate maintenance, lift performance, Service & Conservancy Charges (S&CC) arrears management and corporate governance.
Three colour bands — green, amber and red — are used to grade their performance.
Town councils which had less than four counts of maintenance observations per block on average were banded “Green”, while town councils which had four to less than eight counts of maintenance observations per block on average were banded “Amber”.
13 town councils fell into the “Green” band across all five indicators.
All were banded “Green” for estate cleanliness, as there were less than four counts of cleanliness observations per block on average.
All town councils were also banded “Green” for lift performance, as there were less than 2 breakdowns every month for every 10 lifts managed by the TCs, and the lifts’ ARD failure rate was zero.
However, the Aljunied-Hougang and Tampines town councils were banded “Amber” for estate maintenance.
In July last year, Aljunied GRC MP and Workers’ Party chief Pritam Singh said that AHTC’s financial statements “were given a clean and unqualified opinion, and the Ministry of National Development also graded AHTC’s corporate governance with a green banding” last year.
Addressing residents in a televised constituency political broadcast, Mr Singh said: “You know that services in your estate are functioning, from cleaning to pest control.”
“Cyclical works to renew the estate have been ongoing such as repainting, rewiring, and the renewal of playgrounds and exercise areas.
“There have also been improvement works such as additional linkways, and there are currently other works in progress which are resuming after the lifting of the COVID-19 restrictions,” he added.
Tampines was also banded “Amber” in the FY2019 report for corporate governance due to one count of non-compliance with the Town Council Financial Rules.
“The TC had under-transferred the amount due to the sinking and lift replacement funds for one quarter due to a computation error. The TC had discovered the error and rectified the shortfall in the next quarterly transfer,” said MND.
In terms of S&CC arrears management, Chua Chu Kang was banded “Amber” as it had 40 per cent to less than 50 per cent of the monthly collectible S&CC for the town overdue.
The households that owed arrears for three months or more remained at less than four in 100 households, said MND.
MND said that it has suspended the FY2020 TCMR assessment for the period starting April last year to March this year and will not be publishing a report for this period.
“This is in view of the disruption faced by the TCs during the Circuit Breaker period as well as the changes to the TCs following GE2020 (General Election 2020) in July last year,” said the Ministry.
The suspension also allows for clear accountability of the results when the TCMR assessment resumes from FY2021 from April this year, MND added.
From the FY2021 TCMR, MND will publish the TCMR in two reports.
One report will cover the five aforementioned operational indicators and is to be published in May or Jun each year, while the other report will touch on the Corporate Governance indicator, slated to be published in Nov or Dec each year.
“The FY2021 TCMR will be based on the new town areas after GE2020, covering 17 TCs for the period April 2021 to March 2022,” said MND.