Published by The Online Citizen on October 3, 2012
By Leong Sze Hian –
I refer to the Co-ordinating Secretary, 14 PAP Town Councils’ reply “All town councils face similar cost pressure” (Today, Sep 7) to Goh Kian Huat’s letter “Still not convinced of the need to increase S&CC” (Today, Sep 3).
Town councils’ costs vary
It states that “With a diverse profile of towns and residents, each town council may have different facilities to meet their residents’ needs. Thus, maintenance costs and operating expenses vary.
Town councils’ grants also vary
The amount of government grants also differ depending on the property profile and the town councils determine service and conservancy charges based on their needs and financial position.
Why raise charges together?
It is precisely the fact that the financials of each town council are different that some residents feel that their charges should not all be increased at the same time.
Tampines had healthy surpluses?
For example, Tampines town council had an operating surplus of $3.51 million in the financial year 2010/2011, surplus for the financial year of $6.9 million and an accumulated surplus of $8.4 million.
With the above healthy financial numbers, is there really a need for Tampines to raise charges now?
Healthy for town councils to compete?
It may in a way be healthy competition amongst town councils, if they only raise their charges as and when they really need to, instead of all the 14 town councils always raising their charges together at the same time in one go.
Otherwise, there may be less incentive to be more prudent in their financial management, without the added scrutiny of residents on who is able to keep charges unchanged.
Work together to cut costs, but also raise charges together?
Finally, “working together to explore new cost-saving measures to keep our utilities cost low” need not necessarily mean raising charges together too.