Quarterly Report: 2007, July - September (Q1), Ekwok

Community:
Ekwok 
Staff:
Ralph Andrew  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of Ekwok 
Population:
118  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
11/29/2006 
Community Sanitation Overview:
Individual wells provide water for the majority of the community. Approximately 20 HUD homes have individual wells and a piped septic system. The City operates a piped sewage system with sewage lift station which connects to approximately 16 additional residences. The remaining homes use septic systems or a flush/haul system; a sewage pumper is available. 36 of 42 homes have complete plumbing. The community needs a washeteria with a water source and treatment system. Landfill services are available at no charge. Electricity is provided by Ekwok Electric, a city-owned utility. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
RUBA made several inquiries and offers of assistance to City of Ekwok staff as they worked to resolve deficient RUBA Assessment of Management Indicators during the quarter. Concerning payroll, RUBA continues to offer review of payroll calculations prior to each pay period. Early in the quarter, city staff shared copies of tax reports with RUBA. Staff indicated they'll share further payroll information with RUBA. Late in the quarter, staff indicated they are focusing on improving accounts receivable, accounts payable, and are busy administering gravel hauling tasks for the VSW sanitation project. During the quarter the city initiated billing for services related to existing wastewater connections and informed RUBA collections of the monthly fees are underway. RUBA awaits confirmation of collection rates. RUBA reviewed a near-final draft wastewater business plan for the City of Ekwok and encouraged review and comment by city staff as the draft gets finalized. Concerning the Village Safe Water (VSW) project status, the VSW engineer informed RUBA the city council opted to seek additional funding to upgrade the existing sewage lagoon and connect more homes directly to a sewage service line. Late in the quarter the city rehired an experienced bookkeeper who had taken several months of leave. The bookkeeper is to review utility billing, accounts receivable, accounts payable, and general filing in the city office. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA will maintain contact with city staff and document progress as they share information demonstrating resolution of deficient RUBA Assessment indicators.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
20 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
18 of 25
Total Score:
38 of 52

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.
No A monthly manager's report is prepared.
Yes Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
According to staff the water/sewer budget is balanced and revenues are sufficient to covering expenses. The city administrator, who also serves as a city council member, provides monthly financial reports to the city council. The fuel supply on hand is sufficient through fall 2006. Utility revenue is sufficient to cover operating expenses. Utility revenue is likely to increase based on the city's planned implementation of billing for sewer connection services. The monthly manager's report should be convedy in writing to better serve the governing body's needs for decision-making information.

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.
No 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
No A chart of accounts is used that identifies categories in a reasonable, usable manner.
No 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 utility is reportedly billing customers with a sewer line connection and requires advance payment for septic pumping services. RUBA awaits confirmation of collections data from the city administrator. Concerning payroll, staff were using outdated federal and state tax figures last quarter. RUBA offered to review payroll calculations prior to each pay period but is awaiting documentation from staff to confirm accuracy. The newly rehired bookkeeper has been directed to improve accounting practices including; RUBA will continue offering assistance as the chart of accounts is reviewed and bank reconcililations are completed.

Tax Problems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No The utility has a system to accurately calculate, track, and report payroll tax liabilities.
Yes 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 IRS confirmed July 21, 2006 that the city is complying with federal tax obligations. RUBA requested current payroll data during the quarter to review the latest calculations and payment submittal status for state ESC tax and federal taxes. Upon confirmation, tax related indicators will be satisfied.

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.
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
The city purchases Workers Compensation policy through AML/JIA and had coverage through July 1, 2006. The city's personnel policy is incorporated in city code although the policy has not been reviewed by RUBA. RUBA is available to assist with policy improvements upon request. Job descriptions are maintained in the personnel policy and city code.

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.
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
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 is the known water/sewer entity in the community and maintains a water/sewer ordinance in city code. In recent quarters the city council decided enforcement of billing was prudent. RUBA awaits confirmation of utility billing and collections. The city administrator serves as utility manager and the electric utility manager serves as the water opertor, both of whom are trained and experienced. RUBA continues to recommend council meeting minutes be more consistently prepared and filed.

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.
N/A The utility has completed and distributed its "Consumer Confidence Report".
N/A 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 city is not required to have a certified water operator or wastewater operator, so that specific indicator is marked yes. The fuel utility manager serves as a council member and as the water operator. The designated operator for the sewage pumping service varies based on personnel available. The preventative maintenance plan identifies operational information based on original system design. RUBA suggests the watering point be included in policy and in the budgeting process.