This month, 800,000 Singaporean households living in Housing Board flats will get the first round of this year's $80 million in service and conservancy charges (SCC) rebates.
The total rebate for the year on these town council fees ranges from one month for those living in executive flats to three months for those in one- and two-room flats.
It will be disbursed this month, in July and October.
In the first round this month, those living in five-room and executive flats get a half-month rebate, meaning they need to pay only half the fee.
Those in one- to four-room flats will have their fees covered for the month.
Eligible households will receive letters this month with details of the rebates, which were announced in Budget 2014.
This first round of rebates coincides with the raising of SCC fees at some town councils.
Yesterday, charges went up in eight People's Action Party (PAP) town councils and five wards under the Workers' Party's Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council.
In the PAP town councils, the increase ranges from 50 cents to $13 a month, with those in smaller flats paying less.
In the Workers' Party wards, rates will not go up for Singaporeans living in one- and two-room flats. For those in larger flats, the increase ranges from $3.50 to $10.
In a blog post yesterday, Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan said town councils have to revise their fees periodically "to meet residents' expectation, improve service and keep pace with rising cost".
But SCC rebates and grants help defray costs for residents, he added.
Last year, the Government's SCC grants and rebates amounted to $167 million, about 36 per cent of town councils' operating expenses.
"This is quite substantial and helps reduce the financial burden on residents," the minister observed.
Besides the $80 million in rebates, Budget 2014 also includes $90 million in S&CC grants. The grants go to town councils, meaning they do not need to collect more from residents.
Added Mr Khaw: "This is a good practical way to help Singaporeans with cost of living."
Residents with questions about their SCC payment and account status can contact their respective town councils.
They can also call 1800-8663078 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to check if their households are eligible for the rebates.
This article was published on April 2 in The Straits Times.
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