Quarterly Report: 2014, October - December (Q2), Galena

Jeremy Johnson  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
First Class City 
Agreement Date:
City of Galena 
487 (2012 DCCED certified estimate) 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Completed 
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
Water is derived from wells and is treated. There is a 200,000-gallon reservoir and a community leach field. Sixty-one customers are connected to the fully-piped system and fifty-four customers have water delivered. Some customers have private wastewater systems while others pay the city to dispose of wastewater on an as-needed basis. The city began operating the landfill, located on the former Campion AFS grounds, in 1997. In September 2010 the city acquired a used water delivery truck to replace the previous vehicle which was at risk of being inoperable.. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
RUBA staff travelled to Galena from October 16 to 17 to participate in an energy conference under the reimbursable service agreement for Alaska Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. During the conference the idea to connect the two separate water plants together was discussed, as well as improvements to the local electric plant. The electric plant is the main economic source for the city and greatly subsidizes the water utility. The visit also allowed RUBA staff to assist the city clerk with completing three months of Power Cost Equalization (PCE) reports and the annual report. The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) project manager assigned to Galena has provided a report to RUBA staff on the activity to repair the water and wastewater systems in the community, which had some problems after a spring flood. In November 2013 the last of the houses were connected to the piped system and a list of homes needing additional work next year is now being prepared. Houses are being re-checked for connection problems to be sure that residents are ready for the winter; however, no work is happening in December 2013 through the rest of the winter. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff hopes to make an on-site visit to assist in satisfying unmet sustainable indicators. Other utility management assistance will be provided to the community remotely as needed and requested.
Essential Indicators:
24 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
24 of 26
Total Score:
48 of 52


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
Yes 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.
No YTD expenditures are at a level equal to or below those budgeted.
Yes A monthly manager's report is prepared.
N/A Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
The revenue to the city has dropped because many customers were without water, wastewater, and electric services. Electric is mentioned because this is the prime income source for the city and revenue generated from electric services subsidizes all other functions, including the water utility. Even six months after the flood the locally-generated revenues are not back to where they historical were; homes that were destroyed are not going to be rebuilt until next summer. While the utility revenue is not sufficient, the city is sees some cash flow from building and equipment rental income. This additional revenue is able to cover all the expenses listed in the financial reports. The city purchased less fuel this year than in previous years, but, due to the reduced electric customer base, this has not yet been a problem. Expenses are higher than were budgeted, though this is to be expected after a flood. For instance, the city budgeted $18,410 for building repairs and maintenance, but has so far spent $1,093,293.

Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility has adopted a collection policy and actively follows it.
Yes 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.
No 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 city uses QuickBooks 2013 Enterprise Solutions and has contracted with a Fairbanks based bookkeeping firm for assistance. In Galena, city staff enter bills for payment, receive customer payments, and generate utility bills. Customers are billed on a regular basis. Utility staff actively enforce the adopted utility bill collections policy by disconnecting electric customers for failure to pay on any city service.

Tax Problems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility has a system to accurately calculate, track, and report payroll tax liabilities.
No The utility is current on filing tax reports.
No 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 IRS reported on December 19, 2013 that the City of Galena is not compliant with federal tax deposit requirements. However, the State’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development reported on December 26, 2013 that the city is current with its employment security tax filings and deposits.

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.
Yes The utility has adequate written job descriptions for all positions.
Yes 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
Workers compensation insurance for FY14 is provided through Alaska Municipal League Joint Insurance League (AMLJIA). The personnel policy and procedure manual is comprehensive; a copy is provided to each new hire with a signature page that acknowledges receipt and is filed in the employee's personnel folder. The city is active in personnel management and RUBA staff maintains copies of job descriptions for city positions. The annual evaluations are based on the job descriptions. A specific written hiring process was created in 1996. The current process is that a vacancy notice is posted in town at four locations and the notice is announced on the local public radio station for ten days. Applicants submit their application and if there is more than one applicant, a list of interview questions is created for the interviewer. Galena Personnel Policies and Procedures 15.10.430(A)(1) states that there are to be two separate personnel files for each employee, one public and one confidential. Between the two files, all necessary documents are retained, including copies of evaluations done after an employee’s six-month probationary period. New hires are provided with orientation and job-training, to the extent needed for the position. The personnel manual states that “the city encourage[s] employees to avail themselves of training and educational opportunities directly applicable to their city positions in order that they may provide more effective service to the public.” A new office manager, hired the first week of September, was selected without an open recruitment period; while there is no specific hire process this was a deviation of the normal, established practice. Also important to note is that personal leave was granted within the first month of employment, which the personnel policies do not allow for. The city manager may, at his discretion, allow for paid leave within the first six months of probation as long as the employee has worked 30 consecutive days. The city manager has proposed personnel changes, specifically regarding employee pay. Some employees’ pay is not in accordance with the adopted salary schedule. Future changes for the council to consider are the combination of the clerk and manager positions. Ordinance 2013-08 was introduced to amend the personnel policies regarding employee leave accrual.

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
The city is the owner of the water and electrical plants, as outlined in Galena Code Title 13, and city employees operate both utilities. The city council is the utilities’ policy-making body, while the city manager oversees the day-to-day management of staff. The city council is active in setting and enforcing utility policies as evidenced by council action last quarter to increase the electric rate and by the introduction of Ordinance 2013-07 which would create standards for required connections and piping of the hauled water delivery system. The city hired a new city manager in April 2012. The city manager is fulfilling the job duties to oversee the staff which operate the utilities. The city has an organizational chart that shows the current structure. City council meetings are open to the public with the exception of executive sessions as allowable by law.

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
Yes 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.
Yes 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.
Yes The operator provides status reports to the manager on a routine basis.
Yes The utility has completed and distributed its "Consumer Confidence Report".
Yes 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
The city’s utility operator has all current certificates. The base utility operator’s certificate expires December 30, 2013 but the assigned Remote Maintenance Worker (RMW) traveled to Galena on December 18 and 19, 2013 to give the operator two module lessons. The city is not on the October SNC list. A preventative maintenance plan is located in the plant. The utility manager provides operation and maintenance reports to the city manager who includes them in a report for the council. AMLJIA provides telephonic safety meetings which are attended by city staff. Operations of the utility are functioning as intended and no major outages have occurred.