Quarterly Report: 2010, October - December (Q2), Deering

Margaret Hansen  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Agreement Date:
City of Deering 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
The City of Deering operates the piped sewer and water haul system, as well as the central washeteria. The City Council is the policy making body for the utility. Water is derived from the Inmachuk River; it is treated and pumped to a 400,000-gallon insulated storage tank. Residents pay to have water delivered to their homes. The sewage system is a vacuum system that is piped to a lagoon. A new washeteria, water treatment plant, and sewage collection lines are completed. An additional water storage tank was completed in 2006 and upgraded lines from the tanks to the water treatment plant are still planned. The City has a DEC permit for the sewage lagoon, but DEC wants them to update it to reflect design changes made during construction. RUBA is working with the engineer and DEC to allow time for an in depth study to determine whether the system can be fixed, or needs to be replaced.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Kotzebue RUBA staff traveled to Deering in October to provide onsite training and assistance for two days. The acting city clerk has not previously held an election. RUBA assisted with developing a timeline schedule based on the local election ordinance, created necessary election forms, tally sheets, a contacted election judges. Unfortunately it is unknown why, but followup contact with the community revealed no election was held and a special election needs to be scheduled. Sanitation grant funds will not be released until all essential management indicators are met including the two concerning the entity that owns the utility is known and the policy making body is active. Without an election neither of these two can be verified. Since the acting City Clerk did not follow through with their regular election in November, I spent alot of time assisting the Mayor and acting administrator to set the new date for a special election including writing a letter to the Attorney General's office. The new date they have set is for February 2nd, 2010. RUBA staff has been coordinating with the borough on assistance needed for Deering who requested year end tax reporting training and assistance as well final election preparation assistance. RUBA was also able to help complete the Federal Economic Stimulus grant request as well as posting the new employers insurance coverage notice. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff is planning to travel to Deering the third week of January to update the assessment.
Essential Indicators:
17 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
16 of 27
Total Score:
33 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.
No 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.
No A monthly manager's report is prepared.
No Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
Since the City Administrator quit to move, they have not had an financial report for the last four months. Although RUBA has reviewed their realistic budget sent to our department, without any reports it is unknown if they are current in paying bills, receiving enough revenues to cover operating expenses or if budget amendments are necessary. No known managers report had been submitted.

Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No The utility has adopted a collection policy and actively follows it.
No 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
Since there was hardly anyone in the office, bills have not been sent out on a regular basis, regular meetings have not been held so policies are not being actively followed. The borough hired a temporary administrator (previously City of Buckland long time administrator) to assist the city off and on during September and October 2009. They continue to use quickbooks which tracks customers and reports accounts payable, payroll, cash receipts and disbursements using their budget to set up their chart of accounts which the temporary administrator has kept up to date. While there she paid all invoices using the budget and receiving Mayor approval.

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.
No 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 uses QuickBooks for payroll and to report payroll tax liabilities but there is no documentation at this time on whether they are making deposits are filing tax reports 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.
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
In October during an on site visit by RUBA. The city did receive their notice of insurance that they paid in full so assisted staff in posting the notice in three place within the city office building once signed by the Mayor and attested by the clerk. This city has an adopted policy which was reviewed by a lawyer. The city has not had any changes in positions so uses the adequate job descriptions. They recently hired a city clerk who was on maternity leave but her file was incomplete, I did not see an I-9 form or a letter of acceptance nor an end of probationary evaluation. This city lost their administrator but has no plans to hire one soon in hopes she comes back. They continues to send their water plant operator and alternate to training as scheduled. The clerk successfully attended the QuickBooks Pro training here in Kotzebue in May of this year.

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.
No 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
Yes The utility has adopted an organizational chart that reflects the current structure.
No 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 of Deering adopts necessary ordinances who understand that they own the entity. This fall when the clerk went on maternity leave, they have not been able to meet regularly so RUBA does not know if they have been active in enforcing the utility policy. It is unknown why the City Clerk has not returned from maternity leave who still needed more training but the previous administrator will begin work full time once again next week. The operator lost his certification last year who will work to restore his certification planning to attend the training here in Kotzebue in January. He has worked for the city for three years now so knows the operation and maintenance of the facilities. They have an organizational chart this is posted in the city office as well.

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.
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
Although they do not have a certified operator at this time, he is planning on attending the training in January. He has a preventative maintenance plan that he follows for the existing facilities. No known safety meetings have been held. It is unknown at this time if the clerk is routinely spot checking the facilities. But with the newly hired Remote Maintenance Worker and communication with Maniilaq, they will assure that this operator will fill the tank properly this fall. The operator maintains the inventory and critical spare parts list. The utility is still on the SNC list. As of December 2008 the city has 0 of 6 months to RTC. To RTC, the system must take and report all turbidity, EP C12 and t-coli sampling and distr C12 readings. System has 3 of 12 months to RTC. To RTC, system needs to continue quarterly TTHM/HAA5 and monthly distribution C12 sampling as well as stay below the TTHM/HAA5 RAA MCL.