Quarterly Report: 2013, April - June (Q4), Galena

Jeremy Johnson  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
First Class City 
Agreement Date:
City of Galena 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
Water is derived from wells and is treated. There is a 200,000 gallon reservoir and a community leach field. Sixty-one customers are connected to the fully piped system and fifty-four customers have water delivered. Some customers have private wastewater systems while others pay the city to dispose of wastewater on an as needed basis. The city began operating the landfill, located on the former Campion AFS grounds, in 1997. In September 2010 the city acquired a used water delivery truck to replace the previous vehicle which was at risk of being inoperable. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Fairbanks RUBA staff traveled to Galena in April and June, 2013. RUBA staff worked with the city clerk on the Power Cost Equalization (PCE) reports. The income from the city electric utility subsidizes the water utility. RUBA staff assisted with two federal reports specific to the electric utility, the city was late filing the reports and very large fines could have been imposed, which would have reduced the water utility subsidy. During the second trip, RUBA staff assisted with utility billing after the May 27 flood. While on-site the FY14 budget was introduced to the council and RUBA staff reviewed it. The city suffered from a major flood which damaged the water treatment plant (in the new part of town) and the water main. Piped service to homes is projected to be off line for four months. A temporary watering point is being considered for people to haul water from. The homes that were on delivered water are still in operations, depending on the damage to each home. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff will continue to provide support and assistance as requested.
Essential Indicators:
24 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
23 of 26
Total Score:
47 of 52


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.
No YTD expenditures are at a level equal to or below those budgeted.
Yes A monthly manager's report is prepared.
N/A Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
The council is being provided a financial report and narrative. For the time period reported the expenses are higher than budgeted. The income is very close to budgeted amounts. The financial report does provide recommendations to the council. The city is able to meet its debt obligations; it has recently paid of fuel loan debt and is in the process to secure new fuel loans. This quarter, a new bookkeeping service has been contracted.

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.
No 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 uses QuickBooks 2013 Enterprise Solutions and has resumed ownership of its accounting process. Customers are billed on a regular basis. For the last year an Anchorage based contractor was hired for all bookkeeping tasks, the management has been returned to the city and a new contractor has been hired. The utility has adopted a collection policy and staff actively follow it.

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 is not compliant with the IRS, as of July 2. The city is compliant with the Department of Labor, as of June 20, 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 manager proposed personnel changes, specifically regarding pay. Some employees pay is not in accordance with the adopted salary schedule. Future changes for the council to consider are the combination of the clerk and manager positions. Ordinance 2013-08 was introduced to amend the personnel policies regarding employee leave accrual. The city is active in personnel management. Workers compensation insurance has been provided through Alaska Municipal League Joint Insurance League (AMLJIA) for FY13. The personnel policy and procedure manual is comprehensive; a copy is provided to each new hire with a signature page that acknowledges receipt and is filed in the employee's personnel folder. RUBA staff has copies of job descriptions for city positions. The annual evaluations are based on the job description. A specific written hiring process was created in 1996. The current process is that a vacancy notice is posted in town at four locations and the notice is announced on the local public radio station for ten days. Applicants submit their application and if there is more than one applicant, a list of interview questions is created for the interviewer. Galena Personnel Policies and Procedures Title 15.10.430 (A)(1)states that there are to be two separate personnel files for each employee, one public and one confidential. Between the two files, all necessary documents are retained. Included in the confidential files are evaluations, which are done after the six-month probationary period. New hires are provided with orientation and job-training, to the extent needed for the position. The personnel manual states that 'the city encourage[s] employees to avail themselves of training and educational opportunities directly applicable to their city positions in order that they may provide more effective service to the public.' A new office manager, hired the first week of September, was selected without an open recruitment period; while there is no specific hire process this was a deviation of the normal, established practice. Also important to note is that personal leave was granted within the first month of employment; personnel policies do not allow for this. The city manager may, at his discretion, allow for paid leave within the first six months of probation as long as the employee has worked 30 consecutive days.

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
Ordinance 2013-07 was introduced to create standards for required connections and piping of the hauled water delivery system. A standard size female intake connection and overflow valve. The city is the owner of the water and electrical plants (Galena Code Title 13) and city employees operate both utilities. The city council is the policy making body; the city manager oversees the day-to-day management of staff. The city council is active in setting and enforcing utility policy and rates; this last quarter, the city council voted to increase the electric rate. The city hired a new city manager in April. The city manager is fulfilling the job duties to oversee the staff which operate the utilities. The city has an organizational chart that shows the current structure, the policy making body (city council) meetings are open to the public with the exception of executive sessions as allowable by law.

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".
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
The system requires Level 2 Water Treatment certificates, but only one operator has a Water Distribution certificate. A Level 2 certificate is required and the operators will continue to gain the training and experience level necessary. Both operators have current certificates, with expiration dates of December 2013.A preventative maintenance plan is located in the plant. The utility manager provides operation and maintenance reports to the city manager who includes them in a report for the council. AMLJIA provides telephonic safety meetings which are attended by city staff. Operations of the utility are functioning as intended and no major outages have occurred. The most recent CCR has been completed. The city is not on the most recent, January 2013, Significant Non-Complier (SNC) list.