Quarterly Report: 2010, April - June (Q4), Ekwok

Barbara Higgins  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Agreement Date:
City of Ekwok 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
Individual wells provide water for the majority of the community. Approximately 20 HUD homes have individual wells and are connected to a piped septic system. The City operates a piped sewage system with sewage lift station, which connects to a portion of the community, roughly 16 residences. The remaining homes use septic systems or a flush/haul system. The city operates a sewage pumper. Roughly thirty six of 42 homes have complete plumbing. Landfill services are available at no charge. Ekwok Electric, a city-owned utility, provides electricity services. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
RUBA staff assisted the city with obtaining their FY09 Fish Tax. City staff continue working to resolve deficient RUBA assessment indicators. RUBA staff met with Bristol Bay Area Health Coporation regarding water/sewer projects.The community is on the 3 year list for a Lagoon Project and lift station improvements. Funding will be applied for this year. Concerns were expressed of the city's abilites to meet the RUBA essential indicators. The RUBA management assessment is a special sanitation grant condition for state Village Safe Water grant funding.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA will continue offering assistance to the city with a focus on resolving deficient RUBA Essential Indicators. A trip will be planned in the next quarter to assist with essential indicators.
Essential Indicators:
19 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
10 of 27
Total Score:
29 of 54


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.
No 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.
No A monthly manager's report is prepared.
Yes Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
The FY10 water/wastewater budget is balanced and realistic. Expenditures are exceeding revenues. The city advised the FY10 budget amendments are in second read and waiting public hearing.

Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No 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.
No 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.
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
Billing for septic pumping services has been timely,however delivery of service appears to be late summer and fall. . City staff use manual accounting methods along with spreadsheets for bookkeeping. Staff continue reviewing manual accounting methods provided by RUBA - methods outlined in the DCRA Model Financial Recordkeeping System handbook. The city charges a septic pumping fee of $40 per load and, in accordance with their ordinance, subsidizes the small quantity of wastewater services. Several homes utilize a wastewater connection to the sewage lagoon.

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
Requested from the community was a signed IRS Taxpayer Authorization to confirmation that the city is complying with federal tax obligations. It was not returned and city staff advised they are working with the IRS to resolve deficencies and would keep RUBA informed when they are resolved. RUBA continues offering assistance to city staff as they review federal tax obligatons. On 06/22/10 the Alaska Department of Labor (DOL) denied the city tax clearance. City staff uses a spreadsheet based payroll system provided by RUBA in recent years. In prior quarters, RUBA reviewed the spreadsheet formulas, made improvements to the spreadsheet, and provided guidance to the administrator on proper payroll procedures.

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 provided an employer's notice of insurance for Workers' Compensation showing coverage through July 1, 2010. The Division of Worker's Compensation web-site verifies current coverage on 07/01/10. The utility uses the city's personnel handbook, a comprehensive policy. RUBA reviewed onsite during visits in prior quarters. The city ordinances include job descriptions for utility staff. RUBA recommends job descriptions be reviewed at least annually. The city administrator and RUBA reviewed employee files onsite during the quarter; the adminsitrator continues updating the content of employee files to ensure they are complete and up to date with documentation including I-9 forms and Form W-4.

Organizational Management

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The entity that owns the utility is known; the entity that will operate the utility is set.
No 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.
No The policy making body meets as required.
Yes The utility complies with the open meeting act for all meetings.
Organizational Management Comments
The city council serves as the utility board and operates under a water/wastewater ordinance. The administrator is trained, experienced in the role, and serves as utility manager. The electric utility manager is also trained and serves as the primary water operator.

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
No 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.
No The utility has a safety manual and holds safety meetings.
No Utility facilities have not suffered any major problems/outages due to management issues that are unresolved.
No The utility is operating at the level of service that was proposed.
No 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 city is not required to have a certified water operator or wastewater operator at this time. Sanitation utility staff are trained in the use of heavy equipment. RUBA recommends staff who provide septic pumping services receive basic training including safety procedures. A preventative maintenance plan is in place. RUBA recommends safety meetings be held no less than monthly. The village council operates a summer-only watering point located centrally in Ekwok. RUBA recommends the city stock and maintain a more comprehensive inventory and critical spare parts list including spare tires for the septic pumper.