Quarterly Report: 2010, January - March (Q3), Deering

Margaret Hansen  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Agreement Date:
City of Deering 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
The City of Deering operates the piped sewer and water haul system, as well as the central washeteria. The City Council is the policy making body for the utility. Water is derived from the Inmachuk River; it is treated and pumped to a 400,000-gallon insulated storage tank. Residents pay to have water delivered to their homes. The sewage system is a vacuum system that is piped to a lagoon. A new washeteria, water treatment plant, and sewage collection lines are completed. An additional water storage tank was completed in 2006 and upgraded lines from the tanks to the water treatment plant are still planned. The City has a DEC permit for the sewage lagoon, but DEC wants them to update it to reflect design changes made during construction. RUBA is working with the engineer and DEC to allow time for an in depth study to determine whether the system can be fixed, or needs to be replaced.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Kotzebue RUBA provide phone and fax assistance to the acting clerk and new clerk to follow through with their elections and attorney general's office. She also followed through with a request to assist in getting reimbursement from the school district on last fall's water tank fill. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff is planning to travel to Deering the third week of May to update the assessment and provide budget training and assistance.
Essential Indicators:
19 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
15 of 27
Total Score:
34 of 54


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.
No Monthly financial reports are prepared and submitted to the policy making board.
No 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.
No 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.
No A monthly manager's report is prepared.
No Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
Since the City Administrator quit to move, they have not had an financial report for the last four months. Although RUBA has reviewed their realistic budget sent to our department, without any reports it is unknown if they are current in paying bills, receiving enough revenues to cover operating expenses or if budget amendments are necessary. No known managers report had been submitted.

Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No The utility has adopted a collection policy and actively follows it.
No 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
Since there was hardly anyone in the office, bills have not been sent out on a regular basis, regular meetings have not been held so policies are not being actively followed. The borough hired a temporary administrator (previously City of Buckland long time administrator) to assist the city off and on during September and October 2009. They continue to use quickbooks which tracks customers and reports accounts payable, payroll, cash receipts and disbursements using their budget to set up their chart of accounts which the temporary administrator has kept up to date. While there she paid all invoices using the budget and receiving Mayor approval.

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.
No 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 QuickBooks for payroll and to report payroll tax liabilities but there is no documentation at this time on whether they are making deposits are filing tax reports 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.
No The utility has personnel folders on every employee that contain at least: I-9, Job Application and Letter of Acceptance.
No 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 workers compensation insurance posted and paid in full. Although the city has adopted personnel policies that were reviewed by AML, they should review it for updates. The city has adequate job descriptions for all positions that they use to follow their adequate hiring process which provides for a probationary period that includes orientations but since they had not held their elections on time, I beleive there was no training or oversight nor have they had any evaluations since the administrator resigned. They have been sending their staff to all RUBA training opportunities.

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 Council of Deering adopts necessary ordinances who understand that they own the entity. Because of turnover in staff, they have not been able to meet regularly so RUBA does not know if they have been active in enforcing the utility policy. I understand they hired the previous administrator back who has had over five years of experience overseeing the operations of the city who does all the bookkeeping. The operator lost his certification last year who will work to restore his certification planning to attend the training here in Kotzebue in april. He has worked for the city for three years now so knows the operation and maintenance of the facilities. They have an organizational chart this is posted in the city office as well.

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.
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
Although they do not have a certified operator at this time, he is planning on attending the training in Kotzebue in April. He has a preventative maintenance plan that he follows for the existing facilities. No known safety meetings have been held. Because of turnover in staff no known spot checks of the facilities is known nor have they had any safety meetings but no known major problem exist and are operating at the level of service proposed. The operator maintains the inventory and critical spare parts list. The utility is still on the SNC list. Since July system has had many EP C12 samples below 0.2 mg/L. System missed July 2009 coli/distr. C12 sampling. System only sampled 2 of 2 turbidity samples in July 09. System only samplet 17 out of the required 19 turbidity and chlorine TT violations. System missed 1st and 3rd qtr of 2009 TTHM/HAAS sampling; did sample 2nd and 4th qtr 2009. Sustem missed Feb and July 09 dist C12 residual systems RAA for TTHM exceeds the MCL.