By June 1, 2018, there will be a raise in the service and conservancy charges (S&CC) for every one of the 15 People’s Action Party (PAP) town councils. This is the second increase in S&CC in two years.
This should come as no surprise, since in February of last year, it was announced that the S&CC increase in PAP two councils would take place over a period two years.
Here is a list of all the 15 PAP town councils: 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. However, the charge for every town council will not be the same.
S&CC increases depend on the kind of apartment one has. On June 1 of last year, the S&CC charges went up between S$0.50 to S$9 per month; and on June 1 of this year, the increase will be between S$0.50 and S$8 per month.
With regards to S&CC for shops and offices, last June, charges were up by S$0.09 to S$0.27 per sq m per month. This year, the rate will be S$0.05 to S$0.21 per sq m per month.
Regarding market and cooked food stalls, last years rates increased by S$2.70 to S$23.00 per month. This year, people will be paying an additional S$2.50 and S$17.50 per month.
The increases in S&CC can be attributed to higher cleaning costs, which account for one-fifth of of each town council’s yearly expenses. Additionally, the companies providing cleaning services have been spending greater amounts on progressive salaries for their employees, as well as their training, and even mechanization. The price for pest control services has also increased, since common areas have been receiving more treatments.
The increases will also be used to contribute to the decreasing funds of the town councils themselves, for the maintenance or outright replacement of adding elevators, and also to enact the Lift Enhancement Programme for older estates. The exiting rule dictates that 14 percent of town council funds should be set aside for a new lift replacement fund, in addition to current decreasing fund contributions, since this would take a toll on the town council’s finances.
There will, however, be rebates that will offset the increases, at least in part. For S&CC, rebates will be given to around 900,000 families in Housing Board apartments with a total of S$126 million. This is part of the national budget for 2018.