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Town councils must plan finances as HDB estate infrastructure ages: MND

Monday, January 23, 2017 - 12:14

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Town councils must plan ahead to ensure their long-term finances are sustainable, as well as to build up their sinking funds as HDB estate infrastructure gets older, said Singapore's Ministry of National Development in a statement on Monday.

TOWN councils must plan ahead to ensure their long-term finances are sustainable, as well as to build up their sinking funds as HDB estate infrastructure gets older, said Singapore's Ministry of National Development in a statement on Monday.

The government will help town councils to prepare for these expenditures in several ways, according to the MND.

HDB had earlier announced a S$450 million lift enhancement programme (LEP) that will co-fund the town councils' costs. Enhancement features include additional sensors to detect obstructions to the lift door, and to better regulate lift speeds. Some 20,000 lifts, which have been in operation for 18 years or less, are expected to benefit from the LEP.

In addition, all town councils will have to set up dedicated lift replacement funds (LRF), to be carved out from their sinking funds and ring-fenced for future lift replacements. The LRF was announced by MND in September 2016. From April 1, 2017, onwards, town councils will be required to set aside a minimum of 14 per cent of their service and conservancy charges (S&CC) collections and government grants for their new LRF. This will be on top of their regular contributions (another 26 per cent or more) to the general sinking fund.

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The MND will also increase the S&CC operating grants it currently gives to the town councils to help cover their costs, and also provide additional grants to match part of their contributions to their LRF. Details of the MND assistance measures will be released separately

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