HDB Conservancy S&CC Fees increase. HDB Town Council rubbish chute truck emptying trash from HDB block

The PAP town councils have been facing greater cost pressures due to higher energy prices, maintenance costs and manpower costs. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

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, 2023, will have monthly fees rising by between:

  • $0.70 and $7.90 for HDB flats
  • $0.01 to $0.40 per sqm for commercial property owners and tenants
  • $2.20 and $31.50 for market and food stalls

The next hike will come into effect on July 1, 2024, and will have fees for HDB residents raised between:

  • $1 to $9.10 for HDB flats
  • $0.02 to $0.41 per sqm for commercial property owners and tenants
  • $2.20 and $36.40 for market and food stalls

HDB Conservancy Charges increase due to rising costs

Tthe Marine Parade Town Council (MPTC) said the fee hikes are smaller than they would have been because town councils are receiving special funding support from the Government to cushion the impact of rising maintenance costs.

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

The town councils have been facing greater cost pressures due to higher energy prices, maintenance costs 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.

PAP town councils will focus on improving cost savings

Coordinating chairman for PAP town councils Lim Biow Chuan said most PAP town councils had expected to run a deficit for the financial year 2023-2024 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 accumulated surpluses from recent years, which would otherwise be used for topping up their sinking funds – set aside for longer-term maintenance works.

“While the special funding support from the 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.

Different S&CC rates for residents in different towns

S&CC rates will differ among 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.

Charges to increase in 2 phases

PAP town councils will raise their service and conservancy charges (S&CC) for HDB flats, shops, offices, markets and cooked food stalls in two phases.

Property typeFrom July 1, 2023From July 1, 2024
One-room flat$0.70 to $1.20$1.00 to $1.40
Two-room flat$0.90 to $1.90$1.10 to $2.00
Three-room flat$2.00 to $3.10$2.50 to $3.50
Four-room flat$3.30 to $4.50$3.80 to $4.60
Five-room flat$4.70 to $6.00$5.50 to $6.40
Executive flat$5.80 to $7.90$6.80 to $9.10
Commercial property$0.01 to $0.40 per sq m$0.02 to $0.41 per sq m
Market and food stalls$2.20 to $31.50$2.20 to $36.40
Note: The definitions of these flats do not include rare outliers. Table: STRAITS TIMES GRAPHICS. Source: MARINE PARADE TOWN COUNCIL.

Previous hike in S&CC fees was in June 2018

S&CC fees were last raised in June 2018, with a 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).

S&CC fees not raised for town councils under WP yet

A WP spokesman said the party’s councils, like PAP town councils, face similar cost pressures from high inflation, higher energy prices and rising tender rates for maintenance and upkeep operations.

He noted that the Ministry of National Development’s time-limited support package has also been made available to Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) and Sengkang Town Council (SKTC).

He said: “AHTC and SKTC are deliberating this matter carefully and will communicate any changes to S&CC to their respective residents directly.

“We remain committed to ensuring that town council operations are carried out in a cost-effective manner while delivering the standards of service that residents expect.”

This article was first published on The Straits Times.