Quarterly Report: 2014, January - March (Q3), Akutan

Community:
Akutan 
Staff:
Roberta Eleazer  
DCRA Regional Office:
Anchorage regional office 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
Aleutians East Borough 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of Akutan 
Population:
1154 2013 Department of Labor Estimate 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Completed 
Assessment Date:
3/3/2014 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
4/17/2014 
Community Sanitation Overview:
Water is supplied by a local stream and dam, originally constructed in 1927. Water is treated and piped into all homes. The city received $1.8 million from Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) for repairing water and wastewater transmission lines and impoundment, and another $90,000 from Village Safe Water for general repairs for FY14, which will be rolled over to FY15 and constructed the summer of 2015. Wastewater is piped to a community tank, with effluent discharge through an ocean outfall. Refuse is collected three times a week; a new landfill site and incinerator were recently completed. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
On February 3, RUBA staff traveled to Akutan to provide assistance and training on the duties and responsibilities of the city and utility clerk, payroll tax requirements, ordinances, resolutions, and meetings. RUBA staff helped the clerk open a case file with the IRS regarding late payment of 2013 payroll taxes, helped complete reports to receive Power Cost Equalization (PCE) reimbursements for December and January, which the city uses to subsidize the water/wastewater utility, and assisted the clerk with updating utility-related portions of the code of ordinances. On March 3, RUBA staff visited the Anchorage office of the City of Akutan to conduct a utility management assessment. The city received $1.8 million from Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium for repairing water and wastewater transmission lines, and another $90,000 from Village Safe Water for general repairs for FY14, which will be rolled over to FY15 and constructed the summer of 2015. The initial report showed the City of Akutan met all of the essential capacity indicators and 20/27 sustainable capacity indicators. The draft assessment was submitted to the City of Akutan administrative assistant on March 17, 2014. Written recommendations for improving these management deficiencies, along with additional offers for assistance implementing them, were provided to the community. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff will continue to offer assistance to improve the sustainable indicators in the areas of “Utility Finance, Personnel System, Organizational Management and Operation of Utility” and to invite city and Anchorage staff to RUBA-sponsored utility management trainings.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
25 of 25
Sustainable Indicators:
20 of 27
Total Score:
45 of 52

Finances

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes All revenues and expenses for the utility are listed in the utility budget.
Yes The utility has adopted a balanced realistic budget.
Yes Monthly financial reports are prepared and submitted to the policy making board.
Yes The utility is current in paying all water/wastewater electric bills.
Yes The utility has on hand a year's adequate fuel supply or it has a financial plan to purchase an adequate supply.
Yes The utility is receiving revenues (user fees or other sources) sufficient to cover operating expenses.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
No The utility is receiving revenues (user fees or other sources sufficient to cover operating expenses and Repair & Replacement (R) costs.
Yes YTD revenues are at a level equal to or above those budgeted.
Yes YTD expenditures are at a level equal to or below those budgeted.
Yes A monthly manager's report is prepared.
Yes Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
The City of Akutan FY14 budget has the water/wastewater operating revenues at $72,500 and the operating expenditures at $72,500. It was adopted on June 18, 2013 with non-code ordinance 14-05. Currently year-to-date expenditures and revenues are near the budgeted amounts. The finance director provides monthly financial information to the city administrator and the council. Budget amendments are completed as necessary. Customers are not charged a monthly fee for water and wastewater; cable fees, diesel sales, and the general fund subsidize the water and wastewater enterprise. The finance director is based in Anchorage and provides monthly financial statements that are submitted to the council. The monthly financial reports include a budget versus actual format and show the remaining amount for each enterprise. Fuel is ordered every six months. The last delivery of 41,000 gallons of diesel was delivered March 9, 2014. The utility is not receiving revenues sufficient to cover repair and replacement costs; however the new finance director has included $10,000 in the draft of the FY15 budget for this account.

Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility has adopted a collection policy and actively follows it.
N/A The utility bills customers on a regular basis.
Yes An accounts receivable system is in place which tracks customers and reports past due accounts and amounts.
Yes An accounts payable system is in place.
Yes The payroll system correctly calculates payroll and keeps records.
Yes A cash receipt system is in place that records incoming money and how it was spent.
Yes The utility has a cash disbursement system that records how money was spent.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
Yes A chart of accounts is used that identifies categories in a reasonable, usable manner.
Yes Monthly bank reconciliations have been completed for all utility accounts.
Yes The utility has a purchasing system that requires approval prior to purchase, and the approval process compares proposed purchases to budgeted amounts.
Accounting Systems Comments
The water and wastewater utility does not charge customers, but Title 9: Utilities, Chapter 20: Sewer and Water Utility, Section 450: Consequences of Non-payment of Service Charges is in the Akutan Code of Ordinances to address if the city chooses to begin charging for water and wastewater. The city uses Assyst accounting software for all accounting and payroll transactions. There is an accounts receivable system in place for the cable, electricity, and harbor enterprises that the city manages, which subsidize the water utility. The city is also using the Assyst accounting software to process cash disbursements. The chart of accounts for both the Anchorage office and Akutan office show all assets, liabilities, revenue sources and expenses for the city. Assyst is also used to reconcile monthly bank statements. The Anchorage city office has direct control of the capital fund accounts and the Akutan city office has direct control of the general fund accounts. Title 5, Chapter 5 of the Akutan Code of Ordinances contains the purchasing procedure and states the mayor or the mayor’s designee is the purchasing agent for the city.

Tax Problems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility has a system to accurately calculate, track, and report payroll tax liabilities.
Yes The utility is current on filing tax reports.
Yes The utility is current on making tax deposits.
N/A If there are any past due tax liabilities or recorded tax liens, a lien release has been issued or a repayment agreement has been signed and repayments are current.
Tax Problems Comments
The city uses Assyst to accurately calculate, track and report payroll liabilities. The Internal Revenue Service reports, as of March 9, 2014, the city is compliant with federal tax filing and deposits. There is no record of a lien in Division of Community and Regional Affair’s publication Nov-Dec 2013 Lien Watch Report.

Personnel System

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility has a posted workers compensation insurance policy in effect.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility has adopted and uses a Personnel Policy, which has been reviewed by an attorney, AML or Commerce for topics and language.
No The utility has adequate written job descriptions for all positions.
No The utility has adopted and follows a written personnel evaluation process that ties the job description to the evaluation.
Yes The utility has an adequate written hiring process.
Yes The utility has personnel folders on every employee that contain at least: I-9, Job Application and Letter of Acceptance.
Yes The utility has a probationary period for new hires that includes orientation, job training/oversight, and evaluations.
Yes The utility provides training opportunities to staff as needed and available.
Personnel System Comments
The City of Akutan is a member of the Alaska Municipal League Joint Insurance Association, Inc. (AMLJIA) and has workers compensation current from July 1, 2013 to July 1, 2014. Although the city currently has an employee handbook, a new employee handbook from AMLJIA is under review by the city. There is not an active, scheduled practice of regular employee evaluation and feedback. Employee training opportunities are provided as funding allows. The administrative assistant attended RUBA Planning for Rural Utilities in February. The staff in Akutan has been provided with numerous training opportunities however weather has prohibited travel. The city has requested examples of written operator job descriptions.

Organizational Management

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The entity that owns the utility is known; the entity that will operate the utility is set.
Yes The policy making body is active in policy making of the utility.
Yes The policy making body enforces utility policy.
Yes The utility has an adequately trained manager.
Yes The utility has an adequately trained bookkeeper.
Yes The utility has an adequately trained operator or operators.
Yes The utility has adopted the necessary ordinances (or rules and regulations) necessary to give it the authority to operate.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility has adopted an organizational chart that reflects the current structure.
Yes The policy making body meets as required.
Yes The utility complies with the open meeting act for all meetings.
Organizational Management Comments
Title 9: Utilities, Chapter 2: Sewer and Water Utility in the Akutan Code of Ordinances establish the wastewater and water utility and the city accept the ownership and maintains the utility. The utility manager is the public works director and holds the office of mayor. The bookkeeper is the financial director and is based in Anchorage. The city clerk has been in her position since 2011 and the utility clerk was hired in 2013. Both clerks participated in an on-site clerks training in January 2014. There are two operators employed by the city. One operator was previously certified in Small Water System Treated and Water Distribution Provisional which expired December 31, 2013. He is enrolled in the Introduction to Small Water Systems class April 14-18, 2014 in Anchorage to renew his certification. The other operator is certified in Water Distribution Provisional and Water Treatment Provisional that expire on December 31, 2016.

Operation of Utility

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility operator(s) are actively working towards necessary certification.
Yes The utility has a preventative maintenance plan developed for the existing sanitation facilities.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
No The manager receives a monthly O&M report from the utility operator and routinely "spot checks" the facilities to see that the maintenance items are being completed.
No The utility has a safety manual and holds safety meetings.
Yes Utility facilities have not suffered any major problems/outages due to management issues that are unresolved.
Yes The utility is operating at the level of service that was proposed.
No The operator provides status reports to the manager on a routine basis.
Yes The utility has completed and distributed its "Consumer Confidence Report".
No The utility is not on the "Significant Non-Complier" (SNC) list.
Yes The utility maintains an inventory control list.
Yes The utility maintains a critical spare parts list.
Operation of Utility Comments
As previously stated, in the Organizational Management section, there are two operators employed by the city. The city has adopted the Operations and Maintenance Manual for the Water Treatment Plant from the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium dated September 2008. The lead operator routinely inspects the water treatment facilities according to the operations and maintenance manual. The assistant administrator reported that the utility manager does not receive a monthly operations and maintenance report from the utility operator and does not routinely “spot check” the facility to see that maintenance is being completed. No record of safety meetings was provided. The utilities have not suffered any major problems or outages due to management issues that are still unresolved. The March report from the RMW reported that the water treatment plant was well cared for. The CCR for 2012 was distributed and the RMW is facilitating the 2013 report. The utility is listed on the January 2014 SNC list because winter weather cancelled flights to the city, which prevented the delivery of water samples. In February 2014, Steve Evavold, Remote Maintenance Worker, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) Operations Assistance Program, hand delivered the sample and will report results in April.