Quarterly Report: 2006, April - June (Q4), Saint Paul

Community:
Saint Paul 
Staff:
Elizabeth Manfred  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of St. Paul 
Population:
488  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
7/26/2006 
Community Sanitation Overview:
Water is treated by wells and an aquifer and is treated. Currently there is a 400,000 gallon storage tank with plans to complete at second 450,000 tank in the summer of 2006. All 167 homes are connected to the piped water and sewer system and are fully plumbed. An ocean outfall line was recently added for seafood processing waste. The City collects refuse, and has started a solid waste reduction and recycling program. A landfill, incinerator, sludge and oil disposal site have been recently completed. Three other landfills are located on the island. A new $3 million power plant is nearing completion. A small wind turbine provides power and hot water to the village office and greenhouse, but is not connected to the power grid. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
On April 13 and 14, 2006, Elizabeth Manfred, RUBA, traveled to Saint Paul at the invitation of the community to complete a RUBA management assessment and present council member roles and responsibilities training. City staff provided documentation supporting the conclusions of the management assessment. Specific documents used in the report may be reviewed in the Anchorage regional office. Saint Paul utility systems meet all essential and a majority of the sustainable indicators at this time. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
The city meets all essential capacity indicators at this time. It is recommended the the utility adopt a written personnel evaluation process that ties the job description to the evaluation, meet as required by ordinance, post complete agendas, properly notice meetings, and maintain an inventory control and critical spare parts list. RUBA personnel will assist with any or all recommendations at the request of the community.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
26 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
23 of 27
Total Score:
49 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
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.
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 utility revenue and expense budget includes the history of the previous three year actual and the adopted calendar year for 2006. Budgets are prepared seperately for water and sewer. The revenue category separates water revenues and internal water revenues (city facilities) and the same variations for sewer. The utility also has a revenue line item for labor for customer repairs provided upon customer request. Reserve funds are maintained in the general fund and not recorded in the utility budget. The expense line items are very well detailed up to and including depreciation. Monthly financial reports include the adopted budget for comparison to amounts received and expended. Previously the utility entered water/wastewater payments from other departments in the city as journal entries. All monthly issued bills are now paid with city checks written and receipted using the same process as residential or commercial users. The City has two sources for fuel supplies which are available via barge service all year. The City purchases and resells from North Pacific Fuel. The Native Corporation purchases and resells fuel from Delta Western. The City maintains tanks with 80,000 gallon capacity of gasoline and tanks with 1.3 million gallon capacity for diesel fuel. The utility purchases fuel from the city tanks and is billed monthly.

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 utility charges flat rates for residential customers. Combined bills for water ($20/mon), sewer ($20/mon), refuse ($25/mon), and electricity are sent out on the 3rd of each month. Electric meters are read at the end of the month in order to meet the billing schedule. The City plans to raise the refuse bills $5/mon in 2007. All utility financial records are computerized utilizing a program called MOMS. The chart of accounts categorizes revenues and expenditures in a complete and understandable manner. Meters were recently installed on all commercial customers. The cash receipt system consists of a cashier who logs in the receipt on the computer and is then posted to the General Ledger at the end of each day. Collection problems for local residents are few and far between. With the combined billing process including electric bills, electricity can and will be turned off if any portion of the combined bill is not paid. A collection agency has been used as a last resort for customers that have left the service area. The utility has a written purchasing system. An employee fills out a purchase request and calls vendors for prices. There is a price limit that requires two quotes. This request is then submitted to the Public Works Director for signature and routed to the finance department. Finance will check the budget and purchase the item or hold until a budget amendment is completed if necessary.

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
RUBA requested and received copies of IRS 941 reports for the previous four quarters. A signed tax information release authorization was provided by the City of Saint Paul as the utilities are enterprise systems included in the city's tax payer EIN. The IRS deemed the taxpayer in compliance with federal employment tax filings, federal tax deposits, and noted that no recorded Notice of Federal Tax Lien has been filed. The State DOL office reports the City of Saint Paul is in compliance at this time.

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.
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 utility had a posted worker's compensation insurance policy from Alaska Public Entity Insurance c/o Northern Adjuster for the period from 07/01/05 through 07/01/06. Insurance coverage for utility facilities is through AML/JIA. The utility personnel policy was originally reviewed by both our department and an attorney. It is currently being revised by city staff and will be reviewed by the City Attorney. New hires are given a 90-day probationary period which may be extended if necessary. Job announcements are posted, with job title and duties, locally at the post office, store, and city office. They are also announced on the local radio station. They may be advertised as short as one week if the manager deems expediency is required. The personnel policy also allows for temporary hires for a period of six months with no benfits provided. Temporary hires are often used for short term projects. The utility is a member of the State's PERS and SBS systems. Training opportunities are provided to staff when money allows. Aleutian Pribilof Island Association has funded a majority of the utility staff training. The Remote Maintenance Worker provides on-site training frequently. The City Manager stated the utility evaluation process is not strictly followed and does not tie in every job description with the evaluations that are completed. When the personnel policy is updated, a new policy will be included and followed.

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.
No The policy making body meets as required.
Yes The utility complies with the open meeting act for all meetings.
Organizational Management Comments
The City of Saint Paul owns and operates the utility. The City Council is active in policy making for the utility. Recently the City Council amended the code of ordinances to reflect an interest charge of .87% per month or 10.5% per annum on outstanding receivable accounts. The Public Works Director is responsible for water, wastewater, refuse, and road departments. He was hired by the city in 1999 and had previous experience as a construction superintendent and worked in independent business. The city finance department has seven full-time employees and includes the utility accounting functions. The Finance Director has held the position for several years and worked for and was trained by the previous long-time Finance Director. The utility has two certified operators; one is certified for Water Distribution OIT, Water Treatment OIT, Wastewater Collection OIT, and Wastewater Treatment OIT. The second operator is certified as Water Treatment OIT, Water Distribution I, Wastewater Collection I, and Wastewater Treatment OIT. The system received a certificate of public convenience from the Regulatory Commission of Alaska. Subsistence lifestyles and seasonal occupations of a majority of the council members often prohibit a quorum of council members from attending a meeting. Meetings are then rescheduled for the first available time, however, they are scheduled and noticed as regular meetings rather than special meetings. The public notices do not include summary statements of agenda items to properly inform the public of actions under consideration.

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 utility has a total of seven wells with usage of only two each week and rotates that useage weekly. Water is treated and provided to residents, school, clinic, and coast guard. Public Works consists fo four large buildings to provide city services. The electric plant provides waste heat for the three main buildings which includes the water treatment plant. The water plant uses between 700 and 800 KW per day and burns approximately 1100 gallons of diesel per month. The electric plant is capable of producing 3 megawatts with normal running at 650 kilowatts. The maintenance shop has a used oil burner. A 400,000 gallon water tank currently stores the treated water supply. Recently a second water tank, which would have increased the treated water supply to 850,000 gallons, was half-constructed when the wind blew it down. The lumber was salvaged and the tank is being reconstructed this summer. The utility has a large amount of inventory and critical spare parts on hand. They have not suffered loss of service due to lack of parts. With the stable labor force and frequent RMW on-site support, maintenance requirements are minimal. It is, however, recommended that a written inventory control and critical spare parts list be adopted to be prepared for unforseen repair and replacement needs.