15 PAP town councils to increase service and conservancy charges from June 1

The Ang Mo Kio Town Council at Block 342 in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1.
The Ang Mo Kio Town Council at Block 342 in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1. ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

SINGAPORE - Service and conservancy charges (S&CC) at 15 People's Action Party (PAP) town councils will increase from June 1.

The increase will affect HDB flats, shops, offices, markets and cooked food stalls within the vicinity of the town councils.

Phased over two years, the first tier increase takes effect from June 1 and ranges from $0.50 to $9 per month for HDB one- room to executive flat home-owners.

Commercial property owners and tenants will see an increase ranging from $0.09 to $0.27 psm/month, while the increase for market and food stalls is between $2.70 and $23 per month.

The second tier increase will take effect a year later, with HDB flat owners paying $0.50 to $8 per month.

Commercial property owners and tenants will see an increase ranging from $0.05 to $0.21 psm/month, and the increase for market and food stalls is between $2.50 and $17.50 per month.

However, the charges for each town council are different and individual notices about the new rates will be sent to residents.

The 15 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.

In a statement released by the Holland-Bukit Panjang Town Council on Friday (Feb 17), it said the increase is to keep up with rising maintenance costs.

These maintenance costs include cleaning as well as pest and vector control.

"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.

"Expenditure requirements in these areas are significant and will continue to grow as our estates get older," it added.

Town council chairmen had also told The Straits Times previously that a new rule to set aside 14 per cent of town council income for a new lift replacement fund - on top of existing sinking fund contributions - would put a strain on finances. This was despite a slew of grants worth at least $63 million a year that the Government introduced earlier this year.

The statement also said town councils will work with MPs and community organisations to help residents who face difficulties paying their S&CC.

The Government typically provides S&CC rebates in its annual Budget.

Last year, one- and two-room HDB households received a total of three months of rebates, while three- and four-room households got two months of rebates.

This cost the Government $86 million, and benefit about 840,000 HDB households.

Mr Pritam Singh, chairman of the Workers' Party-run Aljunied-Hougang Town Council, said the town council would make an announcement on any fee changes in due course.