Quarterly Report: 2008, January - March (Q3), Huslia

Community:
Huslia 
Staff:
Leroy Seppilu  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of Huslia 
Population:
265  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
5/7/2008 
Community Sanitation Overview:
The City Council operates the piped water and sewer system and maintains a central watering point where residents come to haul water to their residences. The city also maintains a sewage lagoon and a solid waste site. The City Council is the policy making body for the utility. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
At the request of the City of Huslia, Fairbanks RUBA staff traveled to the community to make a RUBA assessment. The RUBA assessment was successfully passed by the city. The long-time city administrator, Elsie Vent was interviewed for the RUBA assessment and provided all the necessary documentations as requested.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
The City successfully passed the RUBA assessment. The City of Huslia is not a RUBA community. Fairbanks RUBA staff will continue to provide support telephonically or otherwise.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
27 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
27 of 27
Total Score:
54 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
Yes 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 city administrator provided all the necessary information needed for the RUBA assessment. The city charges the school district $950 a month for water/sewer services, residential customers are charged $75/month. There are approximately 80 water/sewer utility customers total, including the school. Commercial customers are charged the same rate as residential customers. We surmised that there would really be only two customers that would be identified as commercial customers, that is, the clinic and the local store. Both consume very small amounts of water. The current budget reflects a realistic revenue and expenses for this fiscal year. The city has continually operated one of the oldest rural community water/sewer utility systems since mid-1970s. The city purchases fuel annually and pays the fuel bill before it is delivered by barge each year. Monthly financial reports are made using Quickbooks Pro format. The city administrator has extensive experience with QBP. The city passed its FY '08 budget slightly late (July '07) due to extensive subsistence activities of the community, as it is sometimes difficult to get the majority of the council members together during summers.

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 has a high rate of water/sewer utility collections. The past due customers are notified after two months. The administrator brings up the past due accounts to the city council during the regular monthly council meetings for approval to disconnect. There are some residential customers that do not have disconnect valves, so the city has to wait until spring to make the disconnections. Most of the water/sewere utility customers pay up or make payment plans when threatened with disconnection notices. There are at least 8 water/sewer utility customers that have left town that the city is having difficulty collecting. The administrator is working to have their Permanent Fund Dividend checks garnished for the amount past due.

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
The city administrator makes all the reports and tax liabilities are paid monthly. The city's current Employment Security Compensation (ESC) employer tax rate is at 1%. A Release of Tax Information agreement was signed by the city to allow RUBA to get information about the city's tax liability payments and reports. The IRS and Alaska Department of Labor have deemed Huslie compliant at this time.

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 administrator has been employed for about 28 years and has extensive experience with personnel management and recordkeeping. The city's insurance and workers' compensation coverage is through Alaska Municipal League-Joint Insurance Association (AML-JIA) and is posted in the city office and expires on July 1, 2008. Employee training is encouraged as funds allow.

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 meets every the first Friday of each month and utility issues are on the agenda. The city administrator is required to provide a monthly report of the status of the utilities during the meetings. The city recently revised its water/sewer utility ordinance. Some of the water/sewer utility customers can't be disconnected until spring because there are no disconnect valves. These are the customers that have older equipment from the mid-1970s and are in the process of being replaced with a newer system that will make it possible to disconnect by the utility when necessary. Most of the utility customers pay their bills when reminded that they will be disconnected when utility bills are past due. The city administrator has won at least two Manager of the Year awards from Tanana Chiefs Conference, OEH dept. The water plant operator has extensive experience as well and has worked for the city since mid 1990s. He has obtained several certifications and is more than adequately trained.

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.
Yes The utility maintains an inventory control list.
Yes The utility maintains a critical spare parts list.
Operation of Utility Comments
The utility operator has worked for the city for a very long time and is current with all the necessary certification requirements. He has worked for the utility for about 10-15 years. His certifications are numerous and very impressive!