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

Community:
Buckland 
Staff:
Margaret Hansen  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of Buckland 
Population:
457  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
7/24/2013 
Community Sanitation Overview:
The water is pumped from the Buckland River and stored in a 750,000 gallon tank. It is treated with filtration and chlorination at the old water plant stored in a smaller tank, then pressurized and distributed to the community through a buried piped system. Wastewater is collected through a gravity wastewater system and pumped through a one mile forcemain to the lagoon. The piped water and waste water system is under construction and is being built in phases. The downtown water main loop is complete, and work will start on the midtown/uptown loop in 2013. Fifty homes, the clinic, the native store, and city office have piped service. Various parts of town will come online in phases eachyear through 2014, pending adequeate funding. Plans are being developed to treat the water in the new plant to meet all drinking water standards including DBP's. The residents are charged for piped water and wastewater service through the assisted billing program with Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and the collection rate is excellent. The Corps of Engineers (COE) is planning to provide a new water intake. Residents who do not have service yet continue to haul water and use honeybuckets. The community has a central washeteria, which is a combination laundromat, toilet, shower facility, and a watering point. The waterplant and washeteria utilize waste heat extensively. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
The city administrator traveled to Kotzebue in April to attend a 32-hour RUBA financial management class, which he completed. In June 2013, the city clerk and alternate city clerk successfully attended a 32-hour RUBA utility clerk's management class in Kotzebue. Kotzebue RUBA staff has been very pleased with the Buckland staff who last year attended the QuickBooks class and followed their RUBA workplan in prepapration for the on-site QuickBooks installation visit the week of July 8, 2013. Kotzebue RUBA staff participated in a teleconference that the Denali Commission conducts quarterly regarding their water and wastewater project. The teleconference included the Denali Commission, Village Safewater (VSW), Corps of Engineers (COE), and the Buckland City Council and staff. During the teleconference an update was received from VSW on the progress of the new water and wastewater system and funding needs. The COE provided information on the water intake project they received funds for. The project has been on going for several years. The mayor reported he believes the project started with a 5 million dollars award and now the budget is down to 2.5 million. With the increase in expenses, the Request for Proposal received the project was over the budgeted amount. Four alternatives were provided to the council. They will need to meet and decide on which alternative they want to move forward with. The RUBA assessment was discussed and the need to continue meeting essential indicators and the plans to have on-site training to install QuickBooks the week of July 8, 2013. The next teleconference is set for July 23, 2013.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Kotzebue RUBA staff is scheduled to travel to Buckland in July 2013, with the RUBA QuickBooks contractor for an on-site installation.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
27 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
25 of 26
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
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.
Yes A monthly manager's report is prepared.
N/A Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
The city has adopted a balanced realistic budget that lists all the revenues and expenses for the utility. RUBA staff has received copies of council meeting minutes and the latest monthly finance reports that the council approved. The reports show that the community is current in paying all water/wastewater electric bills and has a financial plan to purchase an adequate supply of fuel. Kotzebue RUBA received copies of a saving account establish for major repair and replacement costs. It shows they now have $24,000.00. They are receiving enough revenue to cover operating expenses and have budgeted for minor emergency water/wastewater problems. Currently, the utility is receiving revenues above those budgeted and expenses are at a level equal to those budgeted. They have a 95 percent collection rate. A written report is provided to the council at their monthly meeting.

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 has adopted a collection policy that they actively follow and bill customers on a monthly basis. They are on an assisted billing program with Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) which documents a 95 percent collection rate. The city utilizes QuickBooks, which correctly calculates payroll, income, and accounts payable. Before purchases are made, staff checks the budget (which is their chart of accounts), reviewing the reconciled monthly financial report before approving expenditures.

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
The IRS and State Department of Labor have confirmed that the city has filed reports and paid all tax liabilities. No past due liabilities or tax liens are recorded.

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's workers compensation insurance policy is in effect through June 30, 2013. They are insured by Alaska Municipal League Joint Insurance Association (AMLJIA) with the invoice for insurance paid in full. Once they receive their invoice for the new policy, Buckland has the funds to pay their insurance for 2014 in full. The city has an adopted personnel policy that was reviewed by an attorney. Job descriptions are used when evaluating staff per written personnel policy, allowing staff to grow professionally by providing training opportunities as needed. Both accounting staff have attended a QuickBooks class and are now ready to use QuickBooks for all accounting needs. They use the hiring process outlined in the adopted personnel policy. When a new employee is hired, they are provided job orientation and oversight - especially during the probationary period - to assure a smooth transition. Personnel files contain all necessary documentation such as a completed I-9 form, job application and 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 council is the known entity that is operating the new water/wastewater system. They are active in enforcing utility policy. Buckland's administrator is very experienced working for the city in the past as well as the tribe. Kotzebue RUBA noted that the administrator and the clerk both has successfully completed a QuickBooks class. The operators are certified and attend training sessions to further their certifications. A second alternate also received certification for water treatment and water distribution. The governing body has adopted the necessary ordinances to give the utility the authority to operate. An organizational chart has been adopted that reflects the current structure. The council meets monthly and follows the Open Meetings Act for all meetings.

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 operator has certificates for Water Distribution Provisional, Wastewater Collection Provisional, Wastewater Treatment Provisional and Water Treatment 2. The utility also has two alternates who received certification for Water Treatment Provisional and Water Distribution Provisional. The operator is working with the superintendant of the new water/wastewater project to develop a preventative maintenance plan for the new project. The facilities are spot checked, to assure that maintenance tasks are being completed. Safety meetings are being held daily as the project progresses. There have been no outages due to management issues and the utility is operating at the level proposed. The operator meets with the administrator daily and maintains an inventory and critical spare parts list. The April 2013 Significant Non-Complier (SNC) list notes that the system is still having problems with high DPBs, but is doing well in monitoring them. The system has a copper first draw action level exceedance. A water treatment study report was received by Alaska State Department of Environmental Conservation on July 9, 2012. This report identifies the water treatment technology needed to treat Buckland's water.