Quarterly Report: 2009, April - June (Q4), Buckland

Margaret Hansen  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Agreement Date:
City of Buckland 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
The water supply used by the City is taken from the Buckland River. It is treated with filtration and chlorination and stored in a central community storage tank. The water is then hauled to some homes by means of a light truck and small tanks. The residents are charged for this service. The community has a central washeteria, which is a combination laundromat, toilet and shower facility and provides a watering point for residents who haul their own water. The City met with VSW who coordinated the hiring of a project management firm to oversee all phases of the water/sewer project. The sewage lagoon project started last summer to be completed in 2009; currently, gravel is being hauled for the project and the maintenance equipment storage building is completed. The next step is the foundation for the water treatment plant and the water tank to start this fall when the barge comes in. Right now they are getting ready to lay the pipe between the lift station and the sewage lagoon. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
RUBA staff contacted the office a couple of times this last quarter. The first was to verify that she was coming in for the RUBA quickbooks class, she was planning on attending but canceled last minute. The other was to see if this new administrator (previous City Clerk of many years) needed any assistance in completing her budget and certified financial statement in order to qualify for there revenue sharing, she did not. RUBA staff also reviewed her May monthly financial report which shows that they are still not collecting enough revenue for trash and sewer to cover there expenses. When talking to the administrator, she thought those that were delinquent are still delinquent who pay when they get their dividends. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff will continue to monitor documents and may plan to travel to Buckland next quarter when construction begins.
Essential Indicators:
26 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
22 of 27
Total Score:
48 of 54


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.
No 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
In reviewing their May monthly financial report, all revenues and expenses are listed in their realistic budget. They do have enough revenues to cover all their utility expenses collectively but they do have a high trash and sewage haul delinquent accounts. The administrator will get a letter out to those delinquent requiring them to pay or work out a payment plan. She provides a report monthly to the council and completes budget amendments as necessary.

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
Because they have a high delinquent rate for the trash and sewage haul, this documents that this city does not actively follow their collection policy. They use QuickBooks for all their accounting functions which allows them to track customer accounts, calculates payroll and reports which they file as needed records into personnel files. They record the revenue as they receive it and report monthly on the use of it including their expenses on their monthly financial reports which is their chart of accounts. She reconciles quickbooks to the bank monthly. Before purchases are made, they review their last monthly financial report, amount of funds in the account and then approve purchases if warranted.

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
This administrator is doing a very good job at using quickbooks which accurately calculate, track and reports payroll liabilities. She is current in making tax deposits and filing tax reports so there are no past due 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 changed insurance companies from Alaska Municipal League to APEI and saved $13,000.00 for the same coverage. She will post the new policy wh4en it arrives before the end of the month when the other expires. They have a policy that has been reviewed by AML, has the same job descriptions with no turnover currently, follows the evaluation process, has all personnel forms and plans to send the alternate operator to the next training here in September.

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 council understands that they own the entity and are the policy making body of the utility. After reviewing their May monthly financial report, it is apparent that they are having a hard time enforcing their utility policy with all the delinquent accounts they still have.. Although the council meets as required following the open meetings act, it seems they need to make sure they enforce their utility policy to receive payments timely. The City Clerk of eight years is still working taking over the job of the administrator who does most of the bookkeeping. Currently she is training a new city clerk who has had some accounting experience. The main operator is certified but continues to get more training as well as the alternate operator.

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.
No 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".
No 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
This operator continues to attend all training in Kotzebue and oversees the preventative maintenance plan that was developed for Buckland. The operator maintains an inventory and critical spare parts list and turns in an O and M report to the administrator on a routine basis who checks on facilities to make sure their duties are being done timely. There are no known safety meetings this year. The in coming line from the river to the tank freezes every year mainly due to no heat trace tape. The new administrator is on top of the operator to start pumping water into the tank when there is 10 feet of water left in the tank who has been doing very well on this task lately. They did complete their Consumer Confidence Report but continue to be on the SNC list. As of December 2008, system has 0 to 12 months to RTC stage 1, due to RAA TTHM/HAAS MCL excedances. System needs to continue quarterly TTHM/HAAS and take monthly distribution C12 sampling. System is only on SNC list for Stage 1 due to TTHM/HAAS RRA's exceeding MCL's.