International Business & Economy How much did HDB and URA lose in the past years to...

How much did HDB and URA lose in the past years to justify car-parking fee hike?




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By: Leong Sze Hian

I refer to the article “Parking fee hike after big jump in running costs” (Straits Times, Jul 5). It states that “The rising cost of operating public carparks here would have spelt big shortfalls for the Housing Board and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), if parking fees had not been hiked.”

Expect losses in the future, but now still making money?

Since they are talking about “would have spelt big shortfalls” (in the future) – how much did they lose last year and in the previous years? Did they make money, instead of losses?

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Why no disclosure of income – only costs?

As to “Since 2002, when the rates were last raised, the cost of operating carparks has risen 40 per cent, the two agencies told The Straits Times” – why is there no disclosure as to the actual amount of income versus “the cost of operating carparks” – “since 2002”? .

With regard to “Without the latest rate hike, HDB stood to lose $100 million a year. This was despite the two agencies earning a total of $667 million from their carparks in their latest financials for 2014/2015.

In a joint statement to The Straits Times, the agencies said operating costs “which include maintenance, financing, depreciation and overall operating expenses” have risen by 40 per cent since 2002 and, at the current carpark rates, they would not be able to recover the full cost of parking provision.

Why no breakdown of the “costs”?

They pointed out that HDB alone spends over $700 million a year operating carparks – building, maintaining and improving them” – why is there no breakdown of the “operating costs” of “maintenance, financing, depreciation and overall operating expenses” and “building” them?

Accounting-wise – “does not compute”?

Is the “spend over $700 a year” – on a “cashflow” basis or “depreciation” basis”?

Moreover, if the “over $700 million a year” is on a “depreciation” basis, and not a “cashflow” basis – shouldn’t it already be making an annual loss since the income was lower at $595 million (over $700 million minus $595 million)?

Instead of “an average shortfall of more than $100 million … in the coming financial years” – and no mention of any losses in the past?

Land costs for HDB & car parks? 

Since the price of new HDB BTO flats includes land costs (at market rates?) – are we to understand now that there are also “land costs” (at market rates) for HDB car parks?

Are we not in a sense paying “double”?

In respect of “Without the increase in the carpark charges, HDB will face an average shortfall of more than $100 million for its carpark activity in the coming financial years,” said the agencies, adding that URA also faces higher operating costs, and would run a deficit if fees were not revised.

Costs risen from 2002, but income only from 2009?

In the financial year that ended in March this year, HDB reported an income of over $595 million from its carparks. The figure has risen gradually from $523 million in the 2009/2010 financial year” – why say “operating costs … have risen by 40 per cent since 2002” – but only give income from 2009?

HDB has figures, but URA don’t have?

As to “Over the same period, URA has seen its income from parking fees and related charges rise from $62 million to $71 million” – why is there no mention of how much the URA’s costs has risen and the “average shortfall” in the coming financial years (like the HDB’s) ?

Also, similar to the HDB – did the URA lose any money in the past?

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