Quarterly Report: 2009, April - June (Q4), Aleknagik

Community:
Aleknagik 
Staff:
Ralph Andrew  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of Aleknagik 
Population:
237  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
8/10/2009 
Community Sanitation Overview:
The majority of residents (roughly 49 homes) have household plumbing and most use individual wells. Approximately twelve households do not have water or sewer service-some haul water from the community center and a few are served by a spring well catchment system. Septic tanks, leachate fields, and a public sewage lagoon are used for sewage disposal. The North Shore uses eleven shared effluent pumps (REP units) which discharge into a piped wastewater system. Nushagak Electric Cooperatives in Dillingham provides electricity to Aleknagik. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
During the quarter RUBA maintained contact with and provided assistance to City of Aleknagik staff as they resolved deficient RUBA Assessment indicators. The RUBA Assessment is a grant condition the city anticipates for water/sewer project funding it plans to apply for in coordination with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC). RUBA also provided advice and recommendations associated with other topics brought by the city administrator including customer billing, collections, budgeting, monthly financial reporting, records management, sales and bed tax and associated ordinance language, and administrative procedures. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA will continue to offer assistance as the city works to maintain satisfactory RUBA indicators and plans for sanitation infrastructure improvements.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
26 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
22 of 27
Total Score:
48 of 53

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.
No 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.
Yes Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
The CY 2009 utility budget is balanced and realistic. The administrator anticipates minor budget amendments after a mid-year review with the city council in June 2009. RUBA is available to assist with the utility budgeting process upon request. City staff provides the council with a detailed monthly financial report using QuickBooks accounting software and began reporting year-to-date revenue and expenditure figures for the utility with a spreadsheet-based report. City staff provided RUBA with a monthly financial report for the period ending May 2009 showing no activity indicating septic pumping services were on hold during the winter months and annual wastewater fees are still scheduled for billing in the remaining months of the fiscal year. Staff anticipate increased activity with the onset of summer. In prior quarters RUBA provided staff with a sample financial report spreadsheet, a template the city now uses for several city departments. Sufficient fuel is on hand and electric bills are being paid timely. A monthly manager's report is prepared by the city administrator and is documented in city council minutes.

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.
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 city adopted a sanitation ordinance based on a template published by the Regulatory Commission of Alaska in 2008. The ordinance includes a collections policy. The utility bills customers for septic pumping services and annually for households with a wastewater connection. Staff maintains an accounts receivable and accounts payable system using QuickBooks accounting software. Staff also uses QuickBooks for accounts payable and for payroll processing. Staff reconcile their bank accounts and utilize a purchasing system that requires approval prior to purchase.

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
Staff maintains an accurate payroll processing system based on QuickBooks accounting software. On June 24, 2009 RUBA requested written permission from the city to confirm with the Internal Revenue Service Taxpayer Advocate Service that the city is meeting federal tax obligations. In prior quarters the city was satisfying federal tax obligations. During the quarter the city reported that a second federal EIN number on file was discontinued in early 2008 as it was associated with a completed construction project. On June 19, 2009 the Alaska Department of Labor confirmed the city is meeting Alaska ESC tax obligations for the quarter ending March 31, 2009.

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
The city's Employer's Notice of Insurance, purchased through Alaska Municipal League Joint Insurance Association, Inc. is current through July 1, 2009 according to city staff. The city utilizes a comprehensive personnel policy. Personnel folders are maintained and new hires are given opportunity for training and skills development.

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 council enforces policies associated with the utility. Utility customer collections are ongoing as outlined in the city water/sewer ordinance. The city administrator possesses an accounting background and continues to improve his skills in the role. A new city clerk was hired and continues making a smooth transition into the role. City staff who provide septic pumping services are trained in heavy equipment operation. The city council meets as required and abides by open meetings requirements.

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.
No The utility maintains an inventory control list.
No The utility maintains a critical spare parts list.
Operation of Utility Comments
The level of service of the utility has not required the employment of a water operator with extensive training and certification. City staff participating in the operation and maintenance of the septic pumping service and sewage lagoon are trained to operate required equipment. City staff have on file a basic preventative maintenance plan. The administrator reported to RUBA that all staff are directed to particiapte in safety meetings including training teleconferences offered by the city's insurance carrier. Most residential customers on the north shore of the community utilize private septic tanks with privately-maintained pump systems connected to the sewer main. The public school maintains a private well and septic tank system. The city does not provide public water connections and is not presently required to complete an annual Consumer Confidence Report.