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PAP town councils to raise service and conservancy charges from July

PAP town councils to raise service and conservancy charges from July
The town councils have been facing greater cost pressures due to higher energy prices, maintenance and manpower costs.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

SINGAPORE — Service and conservancy charges (S&CC) will be raised twice over the next two years for Housing Board residents, shops, offices, markets and food stalls under PAP town councils due to rising costs.

The first increase, which takes effect from July 1, will have monthly fees rising by between $0.70 and $7.90 for HDB flats. Commercial property owners and tenants will also see an increase ranging from $0.01 to $0.40 per sq m. Market and food stalls will have their fees hiked between $2.20 and $31.50.

The next hike will come into effect on July 1, 2024, and will have fees for HDB residents raised between $1 to $9.10. Commercial property owners and tenants will see an increase ranging from $0.02 to $0.41 per sq m. The increase for market and food stalls will be between $2.20 and $36.40.

Announcing this on Thursday (June 1), the Marine Parade Town Council (MPTC) said the fee hikes are smaller than they would have been, because PAP town councils are receiving special funding support from the Government to cushion the impact of rising maintenance costs.

If not for this funding, S&CC increases required originally ranged between $3 and $21.90 per month for HDB residents, depending on the property type, said MPTC in a statement.

The town councils have been facing greater cost pressures due to higher energy prices, maintenance and manpower costs, said MPTC, citing high tender rates for cleaning, pest control and landscaping services.

It added that the fee hikes will allow town councils to maintain sufficient funds over the next five years for estate maintenance and upgrading.

Coordinating chairman for PAP town councils Lim Biow Chuan said most PAP Town Councils had expected to run a deficit for the financial year from 2023 to 2024 if S&CC rates remain unchanged.

Mr Lim, whose Mountbatten constituency comes under MPTC, added that this would mean the town councils would have to tap on accumulated surpluses from recent years, which would otherwise be used for topping up their sinking funds — used for longer term maintenance works.

"While the special funding support from Government will cushion the impact on residents, we will continue to focus on improving cost savings and productivity wherever possible, and keep up contributions to the sinking fund and lift replacement fund," he said.

The Straits Times had reported in April that town councils have been facing a sharp increase in costs. For instance, energy prices have risen by 23 per cent between 2018 and 2023.

S&CC rates will differ between towns depending on the age and profile of estates, residents' needs and operating expenditures. The fees pay for cleaning, landscaping, refuse collection, pest control and maintenance of mechanical and electrical fixtures such as lifts and lights.

Residents will be notified of the new rates by their town councils, said MPTC.

S&CC fees were last raised in June 2018, with the hike of between $1 and $17 per month for HDB residents phased over two years.

Most town councils are run by PAP except for those in the constituencies of Sengkang, Aljunied and Hougang, which are under the Workers' Party (WP).

The Straits Times has asked the WP about whether their town councils will hike their S&CC fees.

ALSO READ: Budget 2023: About 950,000 Singaporean households to get first tranche of GST Vouchers in April

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

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