Quarterly Report: 2006, April - June (Q4), Ruby

Community:
Ruby 
Staff:
Andy Durny  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of Ruby 
Population:
185  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
7/26/2006 
Community Sanitation Overview:
Approximately 65% of residents haul water from the washeteria and use outhouses. Individual wells and septic systems are also used. Construction of a new water source, water treatment plant, washeteria and lagoon has recently been completed. The new washeteria opened to the public in mid-February 2006. Construction of a garage for water/sewer haul vehicles and purchase of a sceptic tank pumper truck are scheduled for 2006: work on the foundation for the haul garage has already begun. Preliminary plans for the haul garage include hooking it up to waste heat system from the power plant. The school operates its own well. Electricity is provided by the City of Ruby, through the Ruby Electric utility. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
RUBA staff travelled to Ruby April 10-12 and June 19-22 to provide on-site training and assistance to the city clerk. During the June site visit, RUBA staff helped the city clerk complete the past due Annual Report for the city-owned Ruby Electric utility. Throughout the quarter, RUBA staff maintained contact with the City of Ruby via phone, fax,email and mail, providing information and assistance to the city clerk regarding financial recordkeeping and reporting, general government, tax reporting, utility management, and other miscellaneous matters. RUBA staff also maintained contact via phone and email with Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium staff, providing information and comments on the Ruby Water and Sewer Utilities Business Plan. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Continue to monitor and assist, and to provide additional on-site training.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
24 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
16 of 27
Total Score:
40 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
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
Estimated expenses for the water/sewer utility exceed estimated revenues. The City will be able to pay the deficit by using available reserve funds, but it will not be able to continue doing so year after year, especially as costs for other departments (in particular Ruby Electric) continue to escalate. RUBA staff has advised the city council and the city clerk of the need to provide current and accurate financial reports.

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.
No 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 water/sewer utility does not provide service to individual customers, and as such, does not need to keep track of individual customers. On the other hand the electric utility has more than 100 customers, and has been using a manual accounts receivable system. Although use of the Excel program has helped the City improve its billing precedure for Ruby Electric, additional improvements are needed in order to keep better and more reliable track of customer accounts. RUBA staff will continue to provide assistance, but has recommended that the City hire an independant consultant to provide more in-depth Quickbooks training. RUBA staff has also suggested that some staff changes may be needed in order to improve financial recordkeeping and reporting.

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.
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
Alaska Department of Labor has provided verbal confirmation that the City of Ruby is current on its tax reporting to DOL, and that the City has a credit balance. IRS has not yet received the City's 4th quarter 2005 tax report. Last year the City received notice from Alaska Division of Retirement and Benefits of a very substantial unfunded termination liability following its withdrawal from the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) program: the amount due is for future health benefits and unemployment insurance for persons who had been enrolled in PERS while employed by the City of Ruby. The PERS liability remains unpaid, and the PERS issue remains unresolved.

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.
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
Not all personnel policies are consistently followed, and some policies and job descriptions should be updated.

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 Clerk received Power Cost Equalization training in the spring of 2005; attended the September 2005 Financial Management for Utility Managers Workshop in Tok and the March 2005 Introduction to Utility Management training in Farbanks; and has received on site Quickbooks training from RUBA staff. Despite all the training, the clerk has had difficulty keeping up with reporting requirements. RUBA staff has recommended that some staff changes may be appropriate: eg. hiring of part-time office aide or bookkeeper. Additional training is needed.

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".
Yes The utility is not on the "Significant Non-Complier" (SNC) list.
No The utility maintains an inventory control list.
Yes The utility maintains a critical spare parts list.
Operation of Utility Comments
The utility operator uses daily, weekly, and monthly check lists, and submits the completed lists to the city clerk. According to the Remote Maintenance Worker, the operator generally has the necessary spare parts on hand, and the operator is dependable and reliable. The utility operator has a Water Treatment Operator in Training (OIT) and Water Distribution OIT good through 12/31/07, and a Wastewater Collection OIT good through 12/31/06.