Quarterly Report: 2009, April - June (Q4), Saint Michael

Community:
Saint Michael 
Staff:
Leroy Seppilu  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of St. Michael 
Population:
445  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
8/10/2009 
Community Sanitation Overview:
Currently, water is pumped from Clear Lake, approximately 5 miles north of the community and stored in a 1.2 million gallon water storage tank. The water is then pumped from the 1.2 million gallon tank, filtered, disinfected, and stored in a 400,000-gallon water storage tank for consumption. Wastewater is collected at the vacuum plant and pumped via forcemain to a wastewater treatment area northeast of the community. A new sanitation system was completed during the summer of 2005 to provide piped water and vacuum sewer service, and residential plumbing to the homes in the community. At present, 99% of the homes are served by the new system. A washeteria upgrade was completed in 2004 that completely renovated the washeteria. The water treatment plant is under renovation to meet compliance with the Surface Water Treatment Rule and is expected to be completed in 2007.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
None RUBA staff traveled to Saint Michael June 8-10, 2009 to review the city's finances and determine if a fuel shoratage would affect the utility services. The long-time city administrator made several calls to Juneau and the Nome RUBA office stating that the city was going to run out of fuel, employees may be laid off, electricity was going to be shut off, water/wastewater pipes were frozen, etc. RUBA staff reviewed the city's expected revenues for the next two months against the current expenditures and determined that revenues should be able to cover all the expenditures and then some. The Bering Strait School District (BSSD) handed over the old school to the city after a new school was built. The city has moved its offices to the old school. The school still owns some of the buildings for teachers' quarters and pays the city for water/wastewater services and electricity used by the school staff. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
When the City's finances were reviewed, it was found that the bookkeeper was being overwhelmed and was behind on just about everything. RUBA staff has encouraged the city council to hire an office aide to help her out with some of the basic finances, such as bank reconciliations, entering deposits and transactions into the city's bank accounts. RUBA staff will monitor the finances, payroll tax issues telephonically.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
19 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
16 of 27
Total Score:
35 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.
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.
No 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.
Yes Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
The city has handed over the financial controls of the w/s utility system to Alaska Rural Utility Collaberative (ARUC), effective June, 2009. This will ease some of the financial burdens currently faced by the city. The city has not made monthly financial statements for quite a while because of tremendous burden being placed on the city bookkeeper with her duties and some of the others.

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
Although the city has a fairly comprehensive collection policy, it is not quite following it. The w/s utility bills are sent out regularly. We should expect to see changes once ARUC takes full control of the billing. The bookkeeper was about eight months behind bank reconciliations, but was catching up with them by the time RUBA staff left. She will be training an aide once he/she is hired. The city bookkeeper uses Quickbooks Pro and has some training and experience with it. She will need more training.

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 bookkeeper is caught up with all tax reports except for payments. IRS is owed a substantial amount in past due tax liabilities. The city's employer ESC contribution is currently at 1.76%

Personnel System

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility has a posted workers compensation insurance policy in effect.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
No 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 will need to hire an office aide to help the city bookkeeper with her duties. As of now, the bookkeeper is overwhelmed with her work and is behind with some of the work she is suppose to do. All the the city administration staff have worked for a long time. The city keeps fairly good personnel files.

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 meets regularly and the w/s utility issues are on the agenda monthly. The w/s utility system is fairly new and the control was handed over to the city over a year ago. Although the bookkeeper has experience, she may need more software accounting training with QBP.

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.
No 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.
No 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.
No The utility maintains a critical spare parts list.
Operation of Utility Comments
Once the ARUC fully takes over the billing for the city, we should be able to catch up with most of the operational issues. The w/s utility plant operators are working toward the necessary certifications with RMWs and are attending trainings as required.