With the 15 PAP town councils announcing there will be yet another S & CC hike, the HDB lift enhancement wayang is finally over. (“PAP town councils to raise service and conservancy charges from June”)
The increase this round will be about double the previous increase in 2014 and will be phased in over 2 years to make it more acceptable. The maximum amount increased for HDB lessees, after the second increase in June next year, is $17.
Assuming an average increase of $10 per month and 900,000 HDB units managed by 15 PAP town councils, they will be earning an additional $108 million yearly.
Of course HDB shops and offices are also not spared, with many forced to cough up the maximum $40.50 increase. Increased business costs will ultimately be passed on to consumers.
The reason given by PAP town councils is “rising costs associated with maintaining estates”. But was rising maintenance costs also cited as the reason for the 2014 increase?
PAP town councils have been running surpluses every year which had been transferred into their perpetually-increasing sinking funds. Isn’t this similar to Temasek and GIC which keep increasing their assets instead of spending on improving the well being of citizens? What is the real intention of having sinking funds?
Are sinking funds not set up for the sole purpose of cyclical maintenance which includes lift replacements? Why do PAP town councils suddenly require more than $100 million annually for lift enhancement? Bad planning?
With the government chipping in hundreds of millions in tax dollars for lift enhancement, PAP town councils would not have to exhaust their sinking funds to enhance lift safety. Why do they keep increasing sinking funds with no intention of using it for cyclical maintenance?
It is also strange that private sector estate managers do not face this issue. Were HDB lifts so improperly maintained that lessees are now forced to pay the price for our estate managers’ incompetence?
In the private sector, residents would have been consulted before implementing such drastic fee increases. Under the PAP system, these clowns are given access to millions in tax dollars and the power to increase S & CC without consultation with those affected.
PAP MPs who are effectively our estate managers should be held responsible for screwing up lift maintenance, not HDB lessees. When PAP town councils cut corners, ie no oversight of lift contractors, using inferior made in China parts and are only focused on the bottom line, problems are bound to arise. This is common sense.
By arbitrarily increasing S & CC, HDB lessees are being ripped off for the improper lift maintenance by PAP town councils. Since our estate managers are also PAP MPs, aren’t HDB lessees paying the price for their incompetence?
*The author blogs at https://likedatosocanmeh.wordpress.com/