Quarterly Report: 2011, January - March (Q3), Larsen Bay

Community:
Larsen Bay 
Staff:
Brice Eningowuk  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of Larsen Bay 
Population:
83  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
5/4/2011 
Community Sanitation Overview:
Water is supplied from two groundwater sources--gravity feed from the hydro plant, and a well as backup, and stored in a 200,000 gallon tank. A water supply line is connected to the penstock of the hydroelectric plant and used a majority of the time to reduce utility expenses to both the service plant and the customer. All 40 homes are connected to the piped water system. A community septic tank with an outfall line serves these homes, and the majority of them are fully plumbed. Weekly refuse collection services are provided. The community incinerator is currently unusable and all refuse is deposited at the landfill site. The city has been funded for a water treatment plant project from Village Safe Water (VSW).  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
In January 2011, the City of Larsen Bay was re-assigned to Anchorage RUBA staff Brice Eningowuk. RUBA staff traveled to Larsen Bay on January 11-14, 2011, to conduct a RUBA assessment and provide assistance with Power Cost Equalization (PCE) reports and a QuickBooks installation. RUBA staff met with the Larsen Bay staff to provide assistance with previous months PCE reports and to prepare the annual PCE report. Anchorage RUBA staff advised the clerk to call the Alaska Energy Authority (AEA) PCE office staff to notify them of meter readings on the power plants. Issues with the report involve various factors leading up to questionable PCE monthly reports where the amounts of KWH sold is more than the reported KWH generated. Factors include, not limited to, meter malfunction and calibration, unauthorized housing connections. On January 11-12, Anchorage RUBA staff provided assistance on updating the QuickBooks installation as the previous installation was the 2008 version, which support for ended in 2010. The QuickBooks Pro 2009 version was available and installed on the billing clerk and the city clerk computers and set up to communicate via multi-user mode. On January 12, RUBA staff finalized the onsite RUBA assessment of the water and wastewater utility. That evening, RUBA staff attended the city council regular scheduled meeting and notified the council of the staffing change for assigned RUBA staff and the RUBA assessment of management capacity. A RUBA Assistance Agreement was also presented and explained. The council has tentatively decided to renew the agreement and a draft agreement and work plan will be submitted with the draft assessment for review. Due to the issues with the QuickBooks upgrade installation, additional rate setting information was gathered and explained to the council at the meeting. Also, RUBA staff observed the presentation by Del Conrad from Rural Alaska Fuel Services (RAFS) regarding the electric utility rate setting information. On January 13, RUBA staff toured the existing water treatment plant and the new water treatment plant that is near completion of the construction phase. RUBA staff also finalized the QuickBooks Pro 2009 installation and upgrades. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
The city council has a signed RUBA assistance agreement. RUBA staff will continue onsite visits quarterly to assist the community to meet all of the unmet management indicators.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
25 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
23 of 27
Total Score:
48 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.
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
The FY11 budget has the water and sewer budgeted revenues at $30,000 with a subsidy from the electric utility in the amount of $15,000. The total budgeted revenues with the subsidy are $45,000. The budgeted expenditures for the water and sewer totals $43,672 with a remaining balance of $1,328. The utility manager is the primary utility operator and is also the mayor. The manager provides a verbal report to the council in addition to a financial statement in a separate agenda line item. The water and wastewater utility electric bills are issued for the pumphouse and checks for payment are issued from the city to the city water utility. The city received fuel from Crowley on October 24, 2010 to cover until the spring order of fuel. The utility has an Repair and replacement (R and R) account, but funds are not listed in a line item on the utility expenditures. The YTD revenues for the utility are subsided by the electric utility in the amount of $15,000. The YTD expenditures for the utility are equal to those budgeted as stated in the monthly financial report. Budget amendments are utilized when needed.

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
The city staff is in the process of providing copies of the original ordinances to be codified into a new code book. There are different water and sewer ordinances, the issue is that there are amendments and to have them codified into a single book will reduce the chances of using a prior ordinance that may be an earlier version of the same ordinance without the current changes. The city utilizes QuickBooks Pro 2009 and reports are made utilizing the program. The city accounts receivable report was generated and shows all transactions for the water and wastewater for all customers. The city accounts payable report was generated and shows no accounts to be paid. When the city receives cash, the customer is offered a receipt and the data is then entered into QuickBooks following the transaction with the ledger/receipt number. Every Monday the city deposits the cash into the bank account. A chart of accounts was also generated and lists all current assets, liabilities and equities for the City of Larsen Bay. Monthly bank reconciliations are done at the end of the month by the city clerk. All purchases are routed from the employee to the mayor and the mayor to the clerk for processing.

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.
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
A report from the Taxpayer Advocate Service dated January 18, 2011 has the city compliant with Federal Tax Deposits and does not have a lien. There is an issue of the reporting that is being resolved. March 25, 2011, the State of Alaska, Department of Labor, did not grant the city compliant clearance in ESC filing and deposits.

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 has an insurance policy with Alaska Municipal League Joint Insurance (AMLJIA) from July 1, 2010 to July 1, 2011. A copy of the personnel policies was provided that has sample job descriptions, evaluation / hiring processes, and a probationary period of 30 days. The employee personnel files are kept in a locked file cabinet in the city clerk's office that has I-9, job applications, and all correspondence regarding employee and employer.

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 of Larsen Bay is the utility owner/operator of the water and wastewater utility. The ordinances are updated as needed and those ordinances are followed in regards to collection policies. The primary operator is part-time as he is the water/wastewater and electrical operator; he is scheduled to be at the pumphouse for two weeks and the other operators cover the remaining weeks in a month. The city clerk oversees all the bookkeeping for the utility; the billing clerk receives and enters all incoming transactions into QuickBooks. A secondary water operator is scheduled to attend a water operator training in March 2011. The organizational chart is in the personnel polices manual and includes all employees with the exception of the city clerk and billings clerk in a separate branch under the mayor. The organizational chart does reference Title 29 and regulatory agencies in separate branches above the city council.

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.
No The utility maintains an inventory control list.
No The utility maintains a critical spare parts list.
Operation of Utility Comments
A secondary water operator is scheduled to attend a water operator training in March 2011. There is an operations and maintenance manual for the existing pumphouse dated 1981. The new pumphouse is approximately 90 percent complete and once the project is finished, a new operations and maintenance manual will be provided. The city has a monthly safety meeting with the water/sewer/electric operators and the last meeting was on January 11, 2011 when RUBA staff arrived at city hall. There have been no major outages other than electric power outages due to broken lines, but city employees were able to assess the situation and figure out the issue prior to the linemen from Kodiak arriving to repair the lines. The water utility is operating at a level proposed, but the rate is set too low and the water utility has to be subsidized by the electric utility. The last CCR on file is the 2009 CCR. The water utility is not on the current SNC list. The city does not have an inventory control list as there is a new plant that is near completion. There is no record of a critical spare parts list with the city.