Quarterly Report: 2007, October - December (Q2), New Stuyahok

Community:
New Stuyahok 
Staff:
Ralph Andrew  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of New Stuyahok 
Population:
461  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
1/23/2007 
Community Sanitation Overview:
Water is derived from a well and is treated. The majority of the community (94 homes), facilities and the school are connected to a piped water and sewer system installed in 1971 and have complete plumbing. Some residents use individual wells and septic tanks; six homes are without complete plumbing. Electricity is provided by AVEC. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
RUBA traveled to New Stuyahok October 24, 2006 to provide technical assistance to the utility manager who also serves as the sole water operator and acting city administrator. Although applications came in, the city has not filled the city administrator position, vacant since August 2006. Further, the two alternate water operators resigned in the prior quarter and the positions remain vacant. Among other responsibilities, the utility manager is making occasional efforts to resolve deficient RUBA Assessment of Management Capacity Indicators. The RUBA indicators are one of several grant conditions associated with the city's water/sewer renovation projects. The city made little progress during the quarter in resolving indicators and RUBA continues to offer assistance. Concerning revenue, collections efforts have been unsuccessful and the utility's accounts receivables continue to grow. Elders and commercial customers are reportedly the only source of consistent payments. Water/sewer debt to the Alaska Village Electric Cooperative was paid during the quarter, however debt to the Internal Revenue Service and AML/JIA remains. RUBA encouraged adoption of a RUBA work plan, a task list intended to serve as an attachment to the RUBA Agreement that the city already signed; the document remains in review at the city. RUBA recommended the city consider inviting sanitation agencies including the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation, and RUBA to the community to discuss project planning and grant conditions. In other city matters, RUBA assisted with personnel policy review and assembly of the city's FY 2005 certified financial statement, which facilitated access to FY 2007 state energy assistance and PILT funding. RUBA also provided assistance with the city grant writer's efforts to resubmit an application for a multi-use facility that would house public safety and other offices. Late in the quarter, Governor Palin visited New Stuyahok with the Commissioner of Public Safety on issues concerning public safety. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA will maintain contact and provide ongoing assistance upon request.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
17 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
20 of 27
Total Score:
37 of 53

Finances

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No All revenues and expenses for the utility are listed in the utility budget.
No The utility has adopted a balanced realistic budget.
Yes Monthly financial reports are prepared and submitted to the policy making board.
No 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.
No 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.
No YTD revenues are at a level equal to or above those budgeted.
No 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
RUBA recommended the addition of budget line items including anticipated expenditures associated with billing service fees and water quality testing. The utility is said to be current on AVEC bills and has fuel sufficient through spring, 2007. Despite collections efforts, revenues are lower than budgeted. Utility customer debt to the utility has grown in excess of $160,000. The city's collection agency retains 50 percent of revenue collected. RUBA awaits confirmation of actual revenues and expenditures. RUBA recommends monthly financial reports be provided to the city council and can assist upon request.

Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No 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's water/sewer ordinance contains a collections policy which is enforced according to staff. However, the utility's past due debt continues to grow. Staff should actively enforce collections uniformly and consistently to improve revenue. The utility bills consistently via ANTHC's billing service. The utilty manager's QuickBooks skills are improving especially those related to payroll processing. RUBA recommended improved data entry related to accounts receivable, accounts payable, and cash disbursement. Further, RUBA recommended the latest budget be entered into QuickBooks to facilitate year-to-date figures and reporting.

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
The city owes the IRS for tax obligations associated with prior quarters. Staff should submit state and federal tax reports timely and ensure a payment plan is in place with the IRS to faciliate timely payment of debt and to minimize penalties.

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.
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.
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
The City has posted a workers compensation insurance policy that states coverage is valid through July 1, 2007. The city planned to pay for the AML/JIA coverage upon receipt of state energy funding. City staff was unable to find a copy of the city's personnel policy during RUBA's October visit; however, staff is presently reviewing personnel policy and administrative procedure samples provided by RUBA.

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.
No The policy making body enforces utility policy.
Yes The utility has an adequately trained manager.
No 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
The city operates the utility under the guidance and authority of a city ordinance and can improve enforcement of the utility's collections policies. The Regulatory Commission of Alaska granted a Provisional Certificate for the water and sewer utility in recent quarters. The Plant Manager, a certified water operator, is assuming more responsibilities and is covering for vacant positions.

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 Water Operator is certified at the OIT level for water treatment, water distribution, wastewater collection, and wastewater treatment. The utility has encountered what can be characterized as minor system outages, all repaired according to the city. Utility staff maintain a preventative maintenance plan and maintain contact with ANTHC engineers and BBAHC RMW staff. The utility manager also serves as a city council member.