Quarterly Report: 2012, July - September (Q1), Ambler

Community:
Ambler 
Staff:
Margaret Hansen  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of Ambler 
Population:
278  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
10/26/2011 
Community Sanitation Overview:
The main source of water for the community is a 167' well near the Kobuk River. Water is pumped 940 feet to the treatment facility and stored in a 210,000-gallon insulated tank, then piped to most homes. An 80' standby well is also located at the water treatment plant. Sewage is collected via six and eight inch arctic pipes and flows to a facultative lagoon through two lift stations where it discharges to a natural watershed, then the Kobuk River. Currently, 53 homes are served by the piped water and sewer system. The washeteria project is still incomplete since no new funding has been secured. The new lift station and lagoon was operational in January. This new construction has made operations much easier. A new water treatment plant, with waste heat from AVEC is 45% complete. Last year ANTHC secured $435,000 in funding from AEA for heat recovery in the Water Treatment Plant, washeteria and city office building. The heat recovery system design is complete and construction has begun. ANTHC has provided water plant building information to the Northwest Arctic Borough for the solar panel installation project and will consult the structural engineer when provided the solar panel layout/design. In addition an update to the existing master plan is nearly 65% and scheduled to be completed by December 2011. The Ambler City Council have turned over the water plant operations to Alaska Rural Utilities Collabrative (ARUC)starting August 1st, 2010.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
During the quarter staff worked with the city and coordinated with the Division of Emergency Services, Maniilaq Association, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Native Village of Ambler to find funds for emergency repair for the erosion that occured on the river front road. Staff also listened in on a teleconferece with Senator Begich's office, the City of Ambler, Native Village of Ambler, Northwest Arctic Borough, NANA, State Emergency Services, Army Corp of Engineers, Denali Commission, Bureau of Indian Affairs and the USDA to discuss Ambler's erosion. Ambler believes if they have heavy rains it may expose their water and sewer line and make the use of the road impassable. Electrical lines will be in danger as well. It was decided in the teleconference that the city should declare a disaster in order to start the process to receive technical assistance with planning, funding for a short term fix and long term planning. The City Administrator was terminated and the clerk quit in July so the city has been operating with temporary staff since then. RUBA staff assisted the acting administrator with completing the annual member payroll audit requested by AMLJIA. In August RUBA staff traveled to Ambler to providing onsite training and assistance to the acting clerk and administrator on quarterly tax reports, bank reconciliations, monthly financial reports and elections. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
The mayor has requested that Kotzebue staff travel to Ambler to train the new administrator and clerk once hired.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
26 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
26 of 26
Total Score:
52 of 52

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.
N/A Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
The ARUC balanced budget that they adopted showing all revenues and expenses for the utility is presented to the council monthly showing that they are receiving enough revenues to cover operating expenses. The budget shows that they have some funds budgeted for minor repair and replacement costs. In reviewing the monthly financial reports that they submit, it shows that they have been paying their water/wastewater electric bills every month and has the finances to purchase fuel needed. They did have some fuel barged in this fall to cut back on expenses.

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
ARUC bills customers on a monthly basis actively following the adopted collection policy. In September they sent out disconnection notices to 24 customers most of whom either paid their bill in full or worked out a payment plan. They now have a 90% collection rate. They utilize an accounting system that tracks customers which reports past due amounts, an accounts payable system, payroll system that correctly calculates payroll and keeps payroll records. Their system records all incoming money and how it was spent using a cash disbursement system. They use their budget line items as their chart of accounts, reconciling their bank accounts before completing their monthly reports. They use their budget and monthly financial report before approving purchases using purchase orders that are approved and recorded.

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
According to the completed tax authorization reports from IRS and the Department of Labor, they have no known debt so they are current on filing and depositing tax and reports using their utility system that accurately calculates, track and report payroll tax liabilities.

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
ARUC and The city has paid in full workers compensation insurance which they posted showing which will remain in effect until October 2011 as verified by AML/JIA. Staff will follow up end of October to assure that they have continued coverage. They city has an adopted personnel policy which has been reviewed by AMl which provides a written personnel evaluation process that ties into their adequately written job descriptions. The city follows an adequate written hiring process and has a probationary period for new hires that includes orientation, job training oversite and evaluations. ARUC provides training opportunities to employees on site and any training the Department of Environmental Conservation puts on through Maniilaq Association.

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 knows and enforces policy in order to effectively run their utility complying with the open meetings act meeting monthly. They work with ARUC and support them with all their decisions. They have adopted an organizational chart that reflects their current structure showing that the adequately trained administrator who oversees all staff of the oranization following the ordinances necessary that they adopted to give it the authority. ARUC has a trained manager and bookkeeper who reports to the council on the operations of the utility. The operator is still not certified but plans on attending any training available.

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 two operators have been actively working towards their certification. The Remote Maintenance Worker continues to train and assist on site. They do follow the preventative maintenance plan which helps them from suffering any major problems so it is operating at the level proposed and maintains an inventory control lists and critical spare parts list. They have distributed their completed Consumer Confidence Report. They have held safety meetings and the manager receives a monthly report from the operators and routinely spot checks the facilities to see that the maintenance are being completed. They are not on the SNC list.