Quarterly Report: 2014, January - March (Q3), Emmonak

Community:
Emmonak 
Staff:
Ken Berlin  
DCRA Regional Office:
Bethel regional office 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
Yes 
Agreement Date:
3/1/2006 
Entity:
City of Emmonak 
Population:
811 2013 Department of Labor Estimate 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Completed 
Assessment Date:
6/8/2012 
Exp Date:
3/1/2008 
Last Updated:
4/7/2014 
Community Sanitation Overview:
The City of Emmonak owns and operates the piped water and wastewater system. The City also owns and operates the washeteria/sauna. Construction of a new washeteria is completed. The city council is the policy making body for this utility. Water is derived from the Yukon river and is treated. Piped water and wastewater services are provided to most of the residents of Emmonak. Currently, there are 206 connections to this system. Out of those connected, there are 185 residential homes and 23 businesses in service. The next Village Safe Water sanitation project funding will connect six new Emmonak tribal housing units. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
RUBA staff traveled to Emmonak on February 26-27, 2014 to work with and train the newly elected officials and finance staff to improve the financial management of the water and wastewater system. On February 26, RUBA staff met with the city manager and the mayor and discussed what was going to be covered during an evening training session on financial management. The mayor also wanted me to cover the roles and responsibilities of the city council, but that would take another three or more hours. RUBA staff worked with the payroll clerk and the gaming manager that afternoon to put together three different types of financial reports to use as samples during the training. The finance director was out of the office. RUBA staff conducted the financial management training using the Elected Officials Management for Rural Utilities Training material to five city council members and the city manager. The training covered: the accounting cycle, fund accounting, budgeting and amending the budget, fiscal year, budget ordinance, chart of accounts, monthly financial reports, financial reporting requirements, certified financial statements and/or audits, manager's reports, and utility rate setting. February 27, RUBA staff worked with the payroll clerk and the gaming manager to put together a more simplified financial report for the city manager and the city council. But with the finance director not in the office and the city manager in another meeting, some of the questionable classes in QuickBooks were not resolved, including some of the grants ongoing in the city. Two draft finance reports were completed using the data in QuickBooks and converting into Excel. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Work with the city finance staff on a more simplified finance reporting format acceptable to the city council.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
26 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
26 of 27
Total Score:
52 of 53

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
No 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 FY14 budget is balanced and is available on the Division of Community and Regional Affairs (DCRA) website. The finance reports are current to December 2013, as reconciled, according to a finance report to the city mayor and manager dated February 25, 2014. City council meeting minutes will be sent after they are typed up. The finance reports are QuickBooks budget vs. actuals by Class, July 2013 to December 31, 2013. The city has sixty thousand gallons of heating fuel and five thousand gallons of unleaded gasoline fuel on hand and stated this is enough to last until spring. Alaska Village Electric Cooperative (AVEC) confirmed electric bills are current as of March 12, 2014. The city does not have an Repair and Replacement account in place.

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 was considering joining Alaska Rural Utility Collaborative (ARUC) billing and collections service. No further action by the city to join ARUC was noted in the last quarter. The collection policy is being reviewed by staff to update as necessary, set up procedures to enforce collections, how to deal with bills more than a year old, accounts of customers who moved away, accounts of deceased customers, and accounts deemed uncollectible for various reasons. Also some accountholders who pay up their accounts during commercial fishing, firefighting, seasonal employment and Alaska Permanent Fund time need to be addressed. Customer billings go out on the first week of each month. Accounts payables, receivables, payroll and cash disbursements are all in QuickBooks Pro, version 2012. Reconciliation of the general account is current to December 2013.

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.
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 utility uses the QuickBooks system to accurately calculate, track, and report payroll tax liabilities. There are no reported tax liens on the January-February 2014 Lien Watch Report. IRS confirmed compliance on January 8, 2014. The city was deemed compliant by the State DOL/ESC who confirmed compliant to December 2013.

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 of Emmonak has workers compensation insurance coverage through Alaska Municipal League July 1, 2013 to July 1, 2014. A personnel policy includes sections for hiring, evaluation, and probation. Vacant positions are posted until filled. New hires are on probation for three months. The city manager and city council have authority to hire. The Emmonak city council screens and hires for the positions of manager, police chief, clerk, treasurer, and city attorney. A spot check of one personnel file had annual evaluations, job description, I-9, but no job application or letter of acceptance.

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 of Emmonak is known as the provider of water and wastewater services and has adopted an ordinance authorizing it to operate. The city council meets regularly on the first Tuesday of each month and follows the Opens Meeting Act. The city manager has held the position for years and is competent. The manager also enforces the utility policies as directed by the city council. The bookkeeper worked in accounts payable prior to taking the position as the city's full-time bookkeeper. Both the manager and bookkeeper are adequately trained. The main operator has a wastewater lagoon certificate and just attended and tested for water treatment, distribution and wastewater collection, test results are pending. The backup operator attended and tested for introduction to small, treated water systems, test results are pending. Both operators are working towards certification. The organizational chart was posted in the city offices and a copy in on file.

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 main and backup utility operators are actively working towards necessary certification and recently attended trainings. The main operator has a wastewater lagoon certificate and just attended and tested for water treatment, distribution and wastewater collection, test results still pending. The backup operator attended and tested for introduction to small, treated water systems, test results are pending. The assistant city manager receives monthly O and M reports from the operators and spot checks the facilities monthly.