Quarterly Report: 2011, October - December (Q2), Ekwok

Community:
Ekwok 
Staff:
Robert Madeson  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of Ekwok 
Population:
108  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
2/2/2011 
Community Sanitation Overview:
Individual wells provide water for the majority of the community. Approximately 20 HUD homes have individual wells and are connected to a piped septic system. The City operates a piped sewage system with sewage lift station, which connects to a portion of the community, roughly 16 residences. The remaining homes use septic systems or a flush/haul system. The city operates a sewage pumper. Roughly thirty six of 42 homes have complete plumbing. Landfill services are available at no charge. Ekwok Electric, a city-owned utility, provides electricity services. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
On August 6, 2010, RUBA staff met with Village Safe Water Engineer Lynn Marinor regarding the water/wastewater project in Ekwok. Ekwok is currently not passing the essential indicators of the RUBA management assessment. VSW will speak to Ekwok to advise them of the ramifications of not meeting the essential indicators. On August 10-12, 2010 RUBA staff traveled to Ekwok to assit the city with meeting the essential indicators. A request was made by the city to half RUBA staff travel with the VSW engineer. VSW is at 65% completion of the design phase of the wastewater lagoon project slated for construction in 2011. VSW contacted the city to request a meeting with the city council and public to advise the community of the progress made on the project and discuss the next step prior to construction which involves meeting the essential RUBA indicators. The city was advised that they will lose the opportunity for funding if they are unable to meet the indicators and prove local capacity. RUBA staff provide support to the city administrator and assessed what would be needed. A work plan was discussed and time lines were given to complete tasks to increase the scores of the indicators. At the request of the city, RUBA contacted the QuickBooks contractor for assistance in getting Ekwok enrolled in the electronic payroll subscription.Ekwok will need to submit the 941's and quarterly reports to the QuickBooks contractor. RUBA staff contacted the IRS on behalf of Ekwok. RUBA staff had discovered that the Excel spreadsheet used by Ekwok had a formula missing which resulted in incorrect tax submittals. RUBA staff fixed the formula and locked all formulas on the spreadsheet. RUBA staff also discussed the possibility of waiving tax penalities that had incurred due to this issue. On November 30-December 2, RUBA staff traveled to Ekwok and conducted a RUBA assessment. Council training was provided during the trip and additional tax reporting items were addressed. The City of Ekwok was able to meet their essential indicators. Now that the City of Ekwok has met their essential indicators, RUBA staff will continue to help Ekwok work on their sustainable indicators by providing appropriate work plans and support. The City of Ekwok will send RUBA staff confirmation of their IRS Pin number and when the RUBA QuickBooks contractors set up their payroll. Once the VSW project is started, a rate analysis will need to be done, utility billing set up, and appropriate ordinances to cover rates, billing, and collection will be drafted. On November 26, 2010, RUBA staff contacted Ekwok staff regarding the issue of the delivery of their winter fuel. Winter has been flown on November 23-29. The City of Ekwok has enough fuel for the winter  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Now that Ekwok is meeting the essential indicators, RUBA staff will continue to help Ekwok work on their sustainable indicators by providing appropriate work plans and support. RUBA staff will continue to monitor the City of Ekwok. The City of Ekwok will send RUBA staff confirmation of their IRS Pin number and when the RUBA QuickBooks contractors set up their payroll. The City of Ekwok will notify RUBA staff when they submit payroll taxes. RUBA staff discussed the importance on staying current on paying payroll taxes and providing timely budget reports. RUBA staff will continue to work closely with the City of Ekwok. Once the VSW projected is started, a rate analysis will need to be done, utility billing set up, and appropriate ordinances to cover rates, billing, and collection.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
27 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
11 of 27
Total Score:
38 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.
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 FY10 water/wastewater budget is balanced and realistic. Expenditures are balanced with the budget. Monthly finance reports are submitted to the council; these reports compare the adopted budget to the expenses and revenues. Documentation was received showing the city is current in paying the electric bills. The city administrator reported on November 23, 2010 that he had received the winter fuel order. It was air lifted to the community.

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
No A chart of accounts is used that identifies categories in a reasonable, usable manner.
No 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
Currently the City of Ekwok is using a manual ledger system for keeping track of accounts payable. Ledgers are maintained for Bulk Fuel, General Expenses, Utilities, and Deposits and Checks. A ledger is also maintained for bills that are received. Electricity is a pay as you go. A customer comes in and buys electricity, information is entered on a magnetic card. The card is then used on local meters. Receipts of electrical payments are maintained by the City Administrator. Money and receipts from the Bulk Fuel Farm are brought to the City Administrator on a weekly basis. Receipts are stored at City Hall and a ledger is maintained at the Bulk Fuel Farm. The City of Ekwok will be working with RUBA QuickBooks contractors to set up accounts payable in QuickBooks. The City of Ekwok is looking into grants to update their pay as you go system.

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
On January 4, 2011 the IRS Tax Payer Advocate deemed Ekwok compliant. On January 3, 2011 the Alaska Department of Labor (DOL) reported compliance with Alaska ESC tax obligations.

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.
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.
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 Division of Worker's Compensation web-site verifies current coverage on December 27, 2010. The utility uses the city's personnel handbook. The city ordinances include job descriptions for utility staff. RUBA recommends job descriptions be reviewed at least annually. The city administrator and RUBA reviewed employee files onsite during the quarter. The administrator has updated personnel files and personal data is locked in a file cabinet with a hasp.

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
No 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 serves as the utility board and operates under a water/wastewater ordinance. The administrator is trained, experienced in the role, and serves as utility manager. The electric utility manager is also trained and serves as the primary water operator.

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.
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.
No 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 city is not required to have a certified water operator or wastewater operator at this time. Sanitation utility staff has been trained in the use of heavy equipment. RUBA recommends staff providing septic pumping services receive basic training including safety procedures. A preventative maintenance plan is in place. RUBA recommends safety meetings be held no less than monthly. The village council operates a summer-only watering point located centrally in Ekwok. RUBA recommends the city stock and maintain a more comprehensive inventory and critical spare parts list including spare tires for the septic pumper.