Quarterly Report: 2013, July - September (Q1), 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:
10/31/2012 
Community Sanitation Overview:
The water supply used by the city is taken from the Buckland River. It is treated with filtration and chlorination and stored in a central community storage tank. The water is then hauled to some homes by means of a light truck and small tanks. The residents are charged for this service. The community has a central washeteria, which is a combination laundromat, toilet, shower facility, and a watering point for residents who haul their own water. The piped water and wastewater system is under construction and is being built in phases. 35 homes, the clinic, the native store and city office have service. A new water storage tank and treatment plant are under construction. Various parts of town will come online in phases each year thru 2014, pending adequate funding.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Kotzebue RUBA staff traveled to Buckland on August 12, 2012 to provide training to the new administrator in financial management, present an overview of the RUBA program, and complete a work plan with the community. RUBA staff reviewed current financial data and assisted the administrator in drafting an amended FY13 budget and a FY12 Certified Financial Statement to present to the city council at the next meeting. RUBA staff trained the administrator in how to create monthly financial reports using Excel, completing financial reports through June 2012 to present to the council for approval. While on-site, RUBA staff met with the mayor and provided an overview of the amended budget. The lack of an equipment rental agreement was discussed. It was noted that no equipment rental funds were being documented in the financial reports. The Village Safe Water (VSW) engineer contacted Kotzebue RUBA requesting assistance to help Buckland complete the CCR registration required to submit the request for a $484,000 grant for water plant equipment needs. RUBA staff contacted Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) staff who completed the registration. This is significant due to an application deadline of July 20, 2012 for the funds needed for Buckland's new water/wastewater system installation. The acting administrator requested assistance in completing the Northwest Arctic Borough (NAB) revenue sharing application in order to receive $32,000 of additional revenue. The NAB assembly approved granting this revenue to all NAB cities, provided they produce qualifying documentation. Buckland was able to submit the necessary documents to qualify, and will utilize these funds toward electricity costs, including those of the water utility.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Kotzebue RUBA staff is scheduled to travel to Buckland November 7-9, 2012, to continue training and work with the administrator to complete workplan tasks.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
27 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
24 of 26
Total Score:
51 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.
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, and is in the process of amending the budget to include new revenue and expenses for the water and wastewater department. They have introduced this budget amendment and plan to have the public hearing at their November council meeting. RUBA staff has received copies of council meeting minutes and the latest monthly finance reports that the council approved, showing that the community is current in paying all water/wastewater electric bills and has a financial plan to purchase an adequate supply of fuel. Current financials show that the city does not have funds saved for major repair and replacement costs; 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. 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 bills customers on a monthly basis. They are on an assisted billing program with ARUC. 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 with no past due liabilities or tax liens 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 (AMLJIA). 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. They use the hiring process outlined in 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 will operate the new water/wastewater system. They are active in enforcing utility policy. Buckland has hired an administrator who previously worked for the city (10 years ago). Kotzebue RUBA noted that the administrator needs to be trained on Quickbooks; he is scheduled to attend QuickBooks training in Kotzebue in October, 2012. The clerk - who does all financial input - is trained to use QuickBooks. 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 1. 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. 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 July 2012 Significant Non-Complier (SNC) list notes that the system is still having problems with high DPBs, but is doing well in monitoring them. A water treatment study report was received by DEC on July 9, 2012. This report selects the water treatment technology needed to treat Buckland's water.