Quarterly Report: 2010, April - June (Q4), Buckland

Margaret Hansen  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Agreement Date:
City of Buckland 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
The water supply used by the City is taken from the Buckland River. It is treated with filtration and chlorination and stored in a central community storage tank. The water is then hauled to some homes by means of a light truck and small tanks. The residents are charged for this service. The community has a central washeteria, which is a combination laundromat, toilet and shower facility and provides a watering point for residents who haul their own water. The City met with VSW who coordinated the hiring of a project management firm to oversee all phases of the water/sewer project. The sewage lagoon project started last summer to be completed in 2009; currently, they are almost done connecting piping to the sewage lagoon from the Washeteria, Clinic and School. The maintenance equipment storage building is completed. The next step is the foundation for the water treatment plant and the water tank to start this fall when the barge comes in. Right now they are laying the pipe between the lift station and the sewage lagoon. Next spring they hope to do in home plumbing for 17 homes which they expect to be done this fall. They are 13 million short to do this for the entire community. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
This quarter the city had lost their new administrator of three months and rehired the previous city administrator of 10 years whom was able to jump right back in to keep their new water and sewer system project timeline on schedule. Kotzebue RUBA also assisted the administrator with a new agreement for water and sewer rates to charge the school district. RUBA staff is reviewing the existing rate in comparision to the rate they are requesting. The new mayor and acting administrator attended the RUBA utility management class which addressed rate setting. This helped them realize how it should be done and they expressed appreciation for the training to prepare them for management of their new water/wastewater system. Additional assistance this quartter was provided in completing monthly finance reports and locating various financial documentation. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff will assist the administrator andc
Essential Indicators:
27 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
24 of 27
Total Score:
51 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.
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.
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.
Yes Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
In the balanced realistic budget, all the revenues and expenses are listing in the utlity budget. They are current inpaying all their electric bills and have fuel still in their tanks which should last them until the next barge arrives. They submit a monthly financial report to the council every month showing that their revenues are equal to or below the expenditures by department which shows that they are receiving enough revenues to cover operating expenses. She has not been required to do any budget amendments this last year but reports to the council that they need to increase fees for the increase in costs this next budget cycle.

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
They need to work on a new collection policy to include piped water and sewer before this fall. Kotzebue RUBA will provide her with a sample customer service agreement and water and sewer ordinance. Right now they bill for trash and sewage pick up on a monthly basis. They utilize quickbooks for their accounts receivable which tracks customers and reports past due accounts, accounts payable which they report to the council using the previous monthly financial report incomparison to the budget before check rquest for payments are approved and made, they use quickbooks for the payroll and files the records in personnel files, they write out cash receipts and records them into quickbooks at the end of the day. They also use quickbooks that records how money was spent reconciling to the bank monthly.

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
They still utilize quickbooks to accurantely calculate, track and reports tax liabilities using form 8109 to deposit their tax right after each payroll. They have no pst due tax liabilities and are current in fility their tax reports.

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
Their new insurance is in effect until next June 11 which they had a lawyer review. They have all written job descriptions on file for all positions that they give to new employees when hired and when evaluating them. They evaluate yearly on their date of hire per policy. Their policy requires them to advertise for two weeks follwoing a written hiring process. Once hired they create a personel file that contains their job application, letter of acceptance and W-4 and I-9 form. They also review the personnel policies covering their probationary period, orientation and job training and oversight. What training is offered to better their job, the city council budgets to send them any training offered.

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 is the known entity that operates the utility meeting montly in order to actively follow and enforce their utility policies and ordinances to give it authority. The rehired their previous administrator of 10 years with who has attended and passed all RUBA classes to date. She has a new operator who is certified and the previous operator who has not been able to attend or renew his certificates is working along side the new operator. They have adopted an organizational chart that still reflects the current structure meeting as required complying with the open meetings act.

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.
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
They hired a new operator last quarter who attended the class in April and became certified for water distribution and water treatment who works side by side following the preventative maintenance plan with the previously certified operator of many year who did not renew his certificate but plans to attend the next class here in Kotzebue. The council receives a montly operation and maintenance report from the operators and routinely walks through the facilities to make sure they are keeping up with maintenance items. No known safety meetings had been held but they do have safety manuals. In preparation for their new water and sewer installation, the intake system they had problems with before has been resolved so the utility is operating at the level of service proposed maintaining an inventory and critical spare parts list. They still are on the SNC list. Plans for a new intake were approved for construction. Conceptual plans for a new treatment system were submitted in march 2010. Still trying to receive infomration needed to grant final approval to operate existing direct filtration treatment system. Current system has not resolved TTHM/HAAS MCL exceedances.