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Town councils 'must plan finances for HDB infrastructure upgrading'

The Ministry of National Development says that, with proper planning, town councils will be able to pay for major expenses that are expected to be incurred for the infrastructure in ageing HDB estates.


THE Ministry of National Development (MND) has called on town councils to plan ahead to ensure that their long-term finances are sustainable, and to build up their sinking funds as HDB estate infrastructure gets older.

The ministry said in a statement on Monday that this prudence will ensure that the town councils are able to pay for major expenses, which include repainting of the public housing blocks, maintenance of building facades and the replacement of lifts and water pumps.

From April 1, town councils will be required to set aside a minimum of 14 per cent of their collection of service and conservancy charges (S&CC) and government grant for their new lift replacement fund (LRF). This will be on top of their regular contribution of another 26 per cent or more to the general sinking fund.

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Announced in September 2016, the LRF is to be carved out from their sinking fund and ring-fenced for future lift replacements.

To help town councils prepare for these expenditures, MND will increase the S&CC operating grants it now gives to town councils; it will also provide additional grants to match part of their contributions to their LRF.

Details of the MND assistance measures will be released separately.

In addition, a S$450 million lift enhancement programme (LEP) announced earlier by HDB will co-fund the town councils' costs of retrofitting older lifts with safety features and enhancements commonly found in newer lifts.

These include additional sensors to detect obstructions to the lift door and to regulate lift speeds.

Some 20,000 lifts, which have been in operation for 18 years or less, are expected to benefit from the LEP.