Singapore – The Tampines Town Council (TC) and two other TCs received amber ratings, indicating a less than stellar performance, in the latest Town Council Management Report (TCMR).
Tampines TC was the worst performer among the 16 TCs, according to the report for the financial year 2019, which ended on Mar 31, 2020. Tampines TC received amber ratings for estate maintenance and corporate governance, the report released on Monday (Mar 15) showed.
The other two TCs, Aljunied – Hougang (AHTC) and Chua Chu Kang, underperformed in estate maintenance and service and conservancy charges (S&CC) arrears management, respectively.
The Ministry of National Development (MND) releases the annual report after an assessment of the town councils’ performance in five areas: estate cleanliness, estate maintenance, lift performance, S&CC arrears management and corporate governance.
There are three rating levels, green, amber or red, based on measurable and objective criteria submitted by the town councils and their auditors.
In terms of the amber rating for estate maintenance, the top five observations for Tampines TC include obstruction of common areas (39 per cent), unauthorised fixtures such as blinds mounted as a sunshade (14 per cent), storage of combustible items (14 per cent), damaged plaster, large cracks or spalling concrete (eight per cent) and badly weathered floor such as potholes (three per cent).
The report noted that the TC received an amber rating for corporate governance due to one count of non-compliance with the TC’s financial rules. The TC had under-transferred the amount due to the sinking and lift replacement funds for one quarter due to a computation error.
The TC had discovered the error and rectified the shortfall in the next quarterly transfer. It did not suffer any other consequences from the mistake, such as loss of interest, the report added.
“Rest assured that the audit finding does not undermine the robust foundation that the Tampines Town Council has put in place for corporate governance,” said the TC to straitstimes.com.
The AHTC received an amber rating for estate maintenance, with stain and litter (63 per cent) continuing to be an issue. Dumped bulky items or refuse (22 per cent), graffiti (five per cent), moss (four per cent) and faeces or bird droppings (three per cent) make up the other cleanliness observations in the area.
The Chua Chu Kang TC received an amber rating for S&CC arrears management because 40 to 50 per cent of its monthly S&CC due for collection had been overdue.
Minister of State Low Yen Ling, also the TC’s chairman, said that more than 1,000 built-to-order (BTO) flats came on stream from Apr 2018 until the first quarter of 2020. There was a delay in residents moving into the BTO flats due to renovation and Covid-19 disruptions.
As residents typically begin to pay S&CC upon moving in, the TC ended up with arrears. They had also minimised the collection of arrears during the pandemic, noted Ms Low.
“The town council also makes it a point to highlight and assure all residents that help is available for those who need additional time or assistance in their payments due to their financial circumstances,” she added to straitstimes.com.
The TCMR’s release was delayed last year as more time was given to TCs to submit their audited financial statements and governance checklists amid the pandemic, said MND.
Beginning next year, the TCMR will also be split into two, with one covering only corporate governance. The other report will cover the other criteria: estate cleanliness, estate maintenance, lift performance, and S&CC arrears management.
The corporate governance report will be released in November or December while the other one will be published in May or June./TISG
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