Quarterly Report: 2010, July - September (Q1), Ambler

Margaret Hansen  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Agreement Date:
City of Ambler 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
The main source of water for the community is a 167' well near the Kobuk River. Water is pumped 940 feet to the treatment facility and stored in a 210,000-gallon insulated tank, then piped to most homes. An 80' standby well is also located at the water treatment plant. Sewage is collected via six and eight inch arctic pipes and flows to a facultative lagoon through two lift stations where it discharges to a natural watershed, then the Kobuk River. Last year the city had to file an DEC accidental discharge/spill notification report due to a leak in their sewage lagoon. They repaired it using 40 sand bags and hauled frozen leakage to the dump site. Currently, 53 homes are served by the piped water and sewer system. Funds have been requested to connect the remaining 13 homes and offices to the piped system. A new water treatment plant, washeteria, and sewage lagoon have been funded. The landfill is not permitted. Here is the status of the projects: The plans for the sewage lagoon, lift station, and force main are complete. The intent was to finish construction of these during the summer 2006 but due to asbestos in the gravel, NANA has not released any usuage of their gravel as yet. It has been reported that the washeteria project no longer has funding attached since the IRA did not sign for the approval for the funds. The Water Treatment Plant design is 100% complete. The city used the funds that was previously allocated for the south loop extension for the water treatment plant and sewage lagoon projects due to increased costs because of the hold up on the gravel situation. The sewage lagoon project is scheduled to be completed next summer if all goes well.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Kotzebue RUBA provided phone, fax and email assistance on amending the city's FY10 budget, bank reconciliations, washeteria funding to complete their project, elections, upcoming workshops and monthly financial reporting. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff has been requested to travel to Ambler this next quarter to assist them in installing and using quickbooks.
Essential Indicators:
26 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
24 of 26
Total Score:
50 of 52


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.
N/A Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
This administrator is doing very well trying to keep up with all her accounting functions. She has requested assistance in formula problems with her monthly financial report to the council to keep current and report to the council, and balancing to the bank statement when she cannot balance. I provided her the information she needed on how to amend her budget but since it was such a small amount that we should wait until December for any other amendments needed but right now all revenes and expenses for the utility are listed in the realistic balanced budget. she is receiving enough revenues to cover operating costs, and is current paying her electric bills. They do have a savings account with $52,374.66 in the account for future purchase of fuel. Last month she spent $17,000.00 to purchase 3,000 gallons of fuel so has more than enough saved up which she replenishes with the revenue she takes in.

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 council gave the approval for staff, who bills cutomers regularly, to follow through with their policy to disconnect customers with delinquent accounts. When staff sent disconnection notices, all of those five of those delinquent signed over their PFD's to pay off their balances. Although the staff wants to transfer over to using a quickbooks system, they are still utilizing the Northwest Arctic Borough Accounting system using their budget as the chart of accounts which has an accounts receivable, payable with a purchasing system that requires approval prior to purchase based on budgeted amounts, payroll system, cash receipts and disbursements system in place to accurately calculate all transactions and reporting requirements. With assistance from RUBA she has balanced and reconciled all city accounts.

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.
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
Utilizing the Northwest Arctic Borough payroll system that accurately calculates, tracks and report payroll tax liabilities assures her reports are done and current as well as tax deposits. The city has no past due tax liabilities.

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
The city has renewed their AML insurance policy including workmen's compensation which they paid in full and posted in the city office. All sustainable indicatpors are still being met.

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 as the knowned policy making body who adopted the necessary ordinances for authority continues to meet monthly enforcing the policies who complies with the open meetings act for all meetings who also follow their adopted organizational chart reflecting their current structure. The have an adequately trained administrator and bookkeeper who attended the quickbooks training this summer and also the employment tax workshop in September. She plans to attend the Community Development Block Grant writing workshop in October in order to learn how to apply for the needed Washeteria funds. The operators are not certified but with the assistance of the Remote Maintenance Worker has been trained to run the plant efficiently.

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".
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
Although the operators are actively working towards their certification, they have not been able to pass the test at this time but are folloiwng the preventative maintenance plan including have spare pumps and parts on hand. The administrator receives a monthly report from the operator who spot checks facilities to make sure maintenance items are being completed. The utility is operating at the level of service proposed so have not suffered any major problems. They maintain the inventory control list and critical spare parts list that they budgeted for. Although the City has completed their CCR, they are on the SNC list. As of June 09, they have 4 of 12 months toward RTC and must have no monitoring or MCL vio;s for TTHM/HAA or t-coil bact/distr.C12.