Quarterly Report: 2014, October - December (Q2), Ekwok

Community:
Ekwok 
Staff:
Robert Madeson  
DCRA Regional Office:
Dillingham 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of Ekwok 
Population:
115 (2012 DCCED certified estimate) 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Completed 
Assessment Date:
11/17/2012 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
1/6/2014 
Community Sanitation Overview:
Ekwok has a population of 115 according to Census 2010; there were 51 housing units in the community and 37 were occupied. The city owns and operates a wastewater lift station and lagoon, a retail fuel enterprise, manages a landfill, and provides residential and commercial septic pumping services. The City of Ekwok Sewer System Business Plan completed in March of 2011 identified 16 residences serviced by a city owned piped wastewater system. Six residences use a flush and haul water and wastewater system operated by the tribal government. Eleven residents use the wastewater pumping service provided by the city. In the past, the city operated the community electric utility, but management was signed over to Alaska Village Electric Cooperative (AVEC) in August of 2011. Village Safe Water is working with Ekwok in the planning stages of installing a new wastewater system for the community. The objective of the project will be to install a piped system that will service twenty-five residences, three community buildings, and the school. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
On December 16, Dillingham RUBA staff traveled to Ekwok to provide on-site assistance to the city administrator and the new city/utility clerk. RUBA staff showed city staff how to use the city’s QuickBooks program and a customized spreadsheet to provide financial reports, and helped prepare the city’s FY 13 Certified Financial Statement, which is needed before the state can release their Community Revenue Sharing funds to the city. RUBA staff and the clerk reviewed the clerk responsibilities as outlined in Alaska Statutes Title 29 and in the Ekwok code of ordinances, and reviewed each chapter of the Division of Community and Regional Affairs’ Clerk’s Management for Rural Utilities manual. RUBA staff also provided a copy of The Municipal Clerks Manual from the Alaska Association of Municipal Clerk’s website. The city administrator and RUBA staff will continue to assist the clerk with learning the duties and responsibilities of being a clerk. RUBA staff received a copy of the new personnel manual prepared by the Alaska Municipal League Joint Insurance Association. The city council is expected to approve the manual at the next council meeting. RUBA staff reviewed personnel files and noted that job descriptions and letters of acceptance were not included. The city has had difficulty filling the positions of maintenance worker and janitor. A remote maintenance worker also traveled with RUBA staff to check pumps at the lift station and to train members of the city council on lift station maintenance. On December 17, the city administrator received notice from the Internal Revenue Service that the city had not filed W-2s for 2010. Once the payroll records for 2010 are found, RUBA staff will assist the city administrator in preparing and filing the W2’s. The administrator provided RUBA staff with a signed IRS tax release form, and copies of council meeting minutes, agendas, bank reconciliations, and financial statements for the RUBA quarterly report. Earlier in the quarter, RUBA staff participated in a teleconference with Bristol Bay Are Health Corporation Environmental Health Department, Remote Maintenance Worker, Village Safe Water Engineer, Ekwok’s City Administrator, and members of the city council on the lift station grant for the City of Ekwok. The community has been experiencing issues with waterwater odor, saturated drain fields, and clogged wastewater lines. The group discussed strategies on how to clear the wastewater lines, improve water conservation, and equipment and training needed.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff will provide assistance for quarterly financial reporting, amendments, ordinance codification, utility collections, and payroll.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
24 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
14 of 24
Total Score:
38 of 50

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
A copy of the City of Ekwok's FY14 Operating Budget was provided to RUBA staff. RUBA staff has received copies of council meeting minutes and the latest monthly finance reports that the council approved. The city's FY14 budget is complete; revenues and expenditures for the wastewater utility are included. QuickBooks is used to manage city finances and payroll. A monthly financial report comparing actual YTD revenues and expenses to the budget is included in the agenda packet for each regular meeting and referenced in the meeting minutes. RUBA staff has received a copy of the monthly finance reports to the period ending November 2013. The city's bulk fuel storage capacity consists of two 20,000 gallon tanks, one for diesel and the other for unleaded gas. It is recommended that Ekwok consider adjusting the wastewater pumping fees to cover costs associated with maintaining equipment and the increased cost of fuel. On December 26, a phone call to Alaska Village Cooperative (AVEC) confirmed that the city is current on paying their electric bill for the city office/post office.

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
QuickBooks is used to calculate payroll and a customized Excel spreadsheet and QuickBooks is used to track city financial transactions. When payments are received by the city's retail fuel enterprise, the customer receives a receipt and the transaction is entered into QuickBooks under the Bulk Fuel Account. The City of Ekwok bills wastewater customers on a monthly basis and is tracking payments made for the wastewater service A collection system is in place for the wastewater utility and payments are being tracked. Bank reconciliations were completed through November 2013. When there is a need to purchase parts, supplies, and equipment, the specifics of the purchase (part description, brand and model number etc.) along with shipping and freight costs are included in the written request submitted to the city administrator. The city administrator then checks the budget to see if the requesting department has funds to cover the purchase. If there are sufficient funds, the city administrator will submit the order.

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
A December 18 fax correspondence from IRS Taxpayer Advocate deemed Ekwok non-compliant with federal tax deposit requirements. W2’s for the year 2010 were not filed. On December 9, 2013 the Alaska Department of Labor (DOL) reported the city compliant with Alaska ESC tax requirements through September 30, 2013. The city was not listed on the 2013 LIEN WATCH: A Review of Small Community Liens.

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.
No 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.
No 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
A December 27 check of the Division of Worker's Compensation web site verified Ekwok's coverage is provided by Alaska Municipal League Joint Insurance Company and is current. The City of Ekwok provided a copy of the new personnel manual prepared by the Alaska Municipal League Joint Insurance Association (AMLJIA). The city council will review and approve the personnel manual at the next council meeting. The city administrator requested RUBA staff to review personnel files to ensure the personnel files contained the required information. All personnel files contained personal contact information, I-9, and job application. Documents for job description and letter of acceptance were missing.

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.
Yes The policy making body meets as required.
Yes The utility complies with the open meeting act for all meetings.
Organizational Management Comments
A copy of Ekwok's Code of Ordinances is on file at the Dillingham regional office. Chapter 32, which addresses the city's electric utility, was amended to indicate that as of August 2011, Alaska Village Electric Cooperative (AVEC) took over the operation and management of the community's electric plant. Chapter 36 addresses the water and wastewater system and indicates the city council owns the utility and has adopted rules and regulations necessary to operate it. State of Alaska Water and Wastewater Operator Certification and Training regulations, 18 AAC 74.006 require certified operators for public and private wastewater systems that have 100 or more service connections or is used or intended for use by 500 or more individuals per day. Since the City of Ekwok' wastewater system does not meet the requirements of 18 AAC 74.006, a certified wastewater operator is not required to operate its wastewater system. When the city piped wastewater system needs service or repairs, they are handled by the city fuel attendant. Minutes from city council meetings held from September, August, November, and December are on file at the Dillingham regional office. The minutes indicate that city council meets monthly pursuant to Alaska Title 29. Public notification of meetings and the manner in which they are conducted are in accordance with Alaska's Open Meeting Act or otherwise stated in local ordinances.

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.
N/A The operator provides status reports to the manager on a routine basis.
N/A The utility has completed and distributed its "Consumer Confidence Report".
N/A 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
The Water and Wastewater Operator Certification and Training regulations, 18 AAC 74.006 require certified operators for public and private wastewater systems that have 100 or more service connections or is used or intended for use by 500 or more individuals per day. The city of Ekwok's wastewater system does not meet the requirements of 18 AAC 74.006; therefore, a certified wastewater operator is not required to operate the wastewater system. City staff services Ekwok's piped wastewater system as needed. Since service and repairs are needed so infrequently and there is no operator for the piped waste system, the first and fifth sustainable indicators are marked no. However, these indicators are not applicable or necessary for Ekwok's piped waste system. There is a preventive maintenance protocol in the Operations and Maintenance Manual for on-site well, interior plumbing and sewer upgrades for Ekwok, prepared by KAE Inc. in February 2008. Since the residents of the community draw water from private wells, RUBA indicators for the CCR and the SNC list are not applicable. An inventory control list, critical spare parts list or safety manual was not found.