Quarterly Report: 2009, January - March (Q3), Buckland

Community:
Buckland 
Staff:
Margaret Hansen  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of Buckland 
Population:
457  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
5/8/2009 
Community Sanitation Overview:
The water supply used by the City is taken from the Buckland River. It is treated with filtration and chlorination and stored in a central community storage tank. The water is then hauled to some homes by means of a light truck and small tanks. The residents are charged for this service. The community has a central washeteria, which is a combination laundromat, toilet and shower facility and provides a watering point for residents who haul their own water. The City met with VSW who coordinated the hiring of a project management firm to oversee all phases of the water/sewer project. The sewage lagoon project started last summer to be completed in 2009; currently, gravel is being hauled for the project and the maintenance equipment storage building is completed. The next step is the foundation for the water treatment plant and the water tank to start this fall. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
RUBA staff provided phone, fax and email assistance to the Administrator and City Clerk on ordering parts for their generator. The administrator also requested council training on their code of ordinances they have not revised for some 10 years now. I told her to let me know when in March they would like for me to do so. Before I received a response, she called to let me know that she was resigning. It is unfortunate that such a talented lady leave the city before the new water/wastewater system is due to come on line. RUBA staff also provided assistance to the city clerk regarding taxes required for council stipends. The clerk had received RUBA sponsored training in Kotzebue and learned that the IRS requires council stipends have FICa taxes retained. Council members questioned this practice and required a copy of the law stating this. RUBA provided the publication requested.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff will continue to monitor documents and may plan to travel to Buckland next quarter when construction begins.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
26 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
22 of 27
Total Score:
48 of 54

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.
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
In reviewing their February monthly financial report, it shows that they have taken in less than half the amount budgeted for revenue for the water/washeteria sales, a quarter of the amount to receive for landfill fee and only a quarter amount received for the trash/raw sewage fee. The expenses looks to be on tract. I will send a letter to the Mayor regarding my findings on the report. It may be that they will need to do an amendment to account for the less revenues received to date.

Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No 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
In reviewing the February monthly financial report, it shows that although they have not been collecting enough revenue to cover their trash and sewer department, they still have high expenses and they have not disconnected service to those that are very delinquent which means they are not actively following their collection policy. They use QuickBooks for all their accounting functions which allows them to track customer accounts, calculates payroll and reports which they file as needed records into personnel files. They record the revenue as they receive it and report monthly on the use of it including their expenses on their monthly financial reports which is their chart of accounts. Before purchases are made, they review their last monthly financial report, amount of funds in the account and then approve purchases if warranted.

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.
Yes 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
According to their tax authorization report, she has no known tax liabilities, is current on tax reports 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
The city has paid their workmen's compensation policy in full which is in effect until July 2009. They have a policy that has been reviewed by AML, has the same job descriptions with no turnover currently, follows the evaluation process, has all personnel forms and plans to send the alternate operator to the next training here in April as well as the administrator and clerk to QuickBooks training in May 2009.

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 council understands that they own the entity and are the policy making body of the utility. After reviewing their February monthly financial report, it is apparent that they have only received a quarter of the amount budgeted for trash and sewer haul than they spent. Although the council meets as required following the open meetings act, it seems they need to make sure they enforce their utility policy to receive payments timely. The City Administrator of tem years just resigned and the council is not advertising for another. The City Clerk of eight years is still working who acts as the treasurer and does some of the bookkeeping. Evans Thomas is still the operator certified for water treatment and disbrution 1. They will continue to send him to future trainings in Kotzebue to continue to get more certificates.

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.
No The utility has a safety manual and holds safety meetings.
No 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".
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
This operator continues to attend all training in Kotzebue and oversees the preventative maintenance plan that was developed for Buckland. The operator maintains an inventory and critical spare parts list and turns in an O and M report to the administrator on a routine basis who checks on facilities to make sure their duties are being done timely. There are no known safety meetings this year. The in coming line from the river to the tank freezes every year mainly due to no heat trace tape. The previous administrator reported trying to keep on top of the operator to start pumping water into the tank when there is 10 feet of water left in the tank but noted he does not always do so. By the end of the month they are using funds to fix this problem by installing heat tape and new pipe so they can continue to operate at the level that was proposed. They did complete their Consumer Confidence Report but continue to be on the SNC list. As of December 2008, system has 0 to 12 months to RTC stage 1, due to RAA TTHM/HAAS MCL excedances. System needs to continue quarterly TTHM/HAAS and take monthly distribution C12 sampling. System is only on SNC list for Stage 1 due to TTHM/HAAS RRA's exceeding MCL's.