SINGAPORE: Residents in all 15 town councils run by the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) will have to pay more in service and conservancy charges (S&CC) starting in June.
The increases will be phased over two years, with the first increase on Jun 1 this year ranging from S$0.50 to S$9 a month, depending on flat type, the Holland-Bukit Panjang Town Council said in a statement on Friday (Feb 17).
The second increase, which takes effect on Jun 1 next year, will be between S$0.50 and S$8 a month.
S&CC for shops and offices as well as market and cooked food stalls located in the 15 town councils will also go up.
Shops and offices will pay an additional S$0.09 to S$0.27 per sq m a month in the first round of increases, and another S$0.05 to S$0.21 per sq m a month from June next year. Market and food stalls will pay an extra S$2.70 to S$23.00 a month in the first increase and an extra S$2.50 and S$17.50 a month in the second increase.
The 15 PAP-run town councils are: Ang Mo Kio, Bishan-Toa Payoh, Chua Chu Kang, East Coast-Fengshan, Holland-Bukit Panjang, Jalan Besar, Jurong-Clementi, Marine Parade, Marsiling-Yew Tee, Nee Soon, Pasir Ris-Punggol, Sembawang, Tanjong Pagar, Tampines and West Coast. The remaining Aljunied-Hougang Town Council is run by the opposition Workers’ Party.
INCREASE NECESSARY TO KEEP UP WITH COSTS: TOWN COUNCILS
The increases are necessary for the town councils to keep up with rising costs associated with maintaining estates, the statement said.
For example, cleaning costs - which account for about 20 per cent of the town councils' annual expenditure - have risen as cleaning companies spend more on mechanisation, training and progressive wages for workers. Pest control costs have also gone up as more treatments are being done at common areas, it said.
The S&CC increase will also help the town councils build up their sinking funds to maintain and replace old lifts, and carry out the Lift Enhancement Programme, the statement said. “Expenditure requirements in these areas are significant and will continue to grow as our estates get older,” it added.
Earlier this year, the Government announced that all town councils will have to set aside at least 14 per cent of their S&CC and Government grants from April for a lift replacement fund. A Lift Enhancement Programme was also launched last September to modernise older lifts in public housing estates.
Individual notices will be sent to residents to inform them of the new S&CC rates.
The Government has typically handed out S&CC rebates in previous Budgets. Last year, between one and three months' of S&CC rebates worth S$86 million were given to about 840,000 households. In Budget 2015, S$85 million of S&CC rebates were handed out and in 2014, S$80 million of rebates were given.