Quarterly Report: 2013, October - December (Q2), Kwethluk

Ken Berlin  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Agreement Date:
City of Kwethluk 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
The City of Kwethluk owns and operates the water treatment plant, washeteria, garbage collection, and honey-bucket haul system for the community. The city council, advised by the sanitation committee, is the policy making body for the utility. The city provides raw sewage and solid waste hauling services for 108 of its residential homes for $30 per month per household. Hoppers are located throughout the community for the honey-bucket haul system; these hoppers are hauled to the sewage lagoon on a regular basis. The school and teacher housing operate on its own well water system that's maintained by the Lower Kuskokwim School District. The city offices, washeteria, and ATCO trailers are connected to the city's flush system and water treatment plant. The washeteria, constructed in 1985, has been operating since 1986. The community's one watering point is located at the washeteria which charges .20 cents per gallon. Residents haul water from the local river for personal use and gather ice and rain water for drinking. Very few homes have running water or plumbing for showers, but many have sauna/steam bath houses. Kuiggluum Kallugvia provides the communities electric services and the city operates the landfill and sewage lagoon. A community wide water and sewer sanitation project is on-going which includes construction of the new lagoon and piped water and sewer lines. The base lift for the new lagoon has been completed; expected completion date is end of 2011. Grant funding for the community's sanitation projects have been awarded and are funded by USDA Rural Development, Village Safe Water Act, EPA Clean Water Act, and Indian Health Services. The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) is the community's contracted engineering service.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
In November, Bethel RUBA staff traveled to Kwethluk and worked with the city manager and bookkeeper to complete a RUBA management assessment and to provide on-site training to the bookkeeper. There was a house fire early in the morning of the first day which required the mayor (also a volunteer fireman) to miss a portion of the training. RUBA staff worked with the bookkeeper to correct deficient essential tax indicators identified in a previous RUBA report. The missing first quarter 941 report was completed and filed and all payroll tax liabilities and deposits were made. Upon the mayor's return, additional information was discovered revealing a notice from the IRS stating that third quarter 2011 payments and deposits were due. Research of bank statements and Quickbooks reports revealed the city had e-paid taxes after every payroll. Contact with the bank and IRS cleared the city's unpaid tax liabilities. RUBA assisted the bookkeeper in completing monthly finance reports for July through September and feels the on-site training will provide the skills for the bookkeeper to complete future monthly reports. A presentation was made to the city council on November 2 regarding the RUBA assessments and RUBA training. A draft assessment will be completed, provided to the city for review and comments before finalizing the document. RUBA staff will continue to monitor the utility staff and offer assistance when necessary. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
An RUBA assessment was conducted in November 1-2, 2012 and the report is complete. RUBA staff will continue efforts to assist the community in meeting essential and sustainable indicator compliance.
Essential Indicators:
26 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
26 of 27
Total Score:
52 of 53


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
An FY13 Annual Budget was adopted and is on file. Administration provides the sanitation committee and city council a customer monthly aging report and a finance report with the budget, monthly, yearly, and balance figures. Finance reports were up to date to September 2012 with city council review and approval. A copy of September 2012 billing from the Kuiggluum Kallugvia Electric Company indicated that the city is current in paying their electric bill. The city uses annually budgeted funds to purchase fuel from Crowley Marine Services. City received its remaining 8,000 gallons in July 2012 which is a sufficient amount to last through winter months. The city does not maintain a Repair and Replacement line item.

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 utility billing and collection policies are established in Resolution #07-04-04 adopted on May 8, 2007 and Ordinance #99-08-17, adopted on November 16, 1998. Nonpayment of four consecutive monthly bills results in the city removing a resident's honey bucket hopper. Both documents are on file at the Bethel regional office for review. The city uses QuickBooks software for all accounting and payroll purposes. Monthly utility bills are generated from QuickBooks and sent to customers by the 15th of each month as required by city ordinance. The utility clerk writes a receipt for any income received then enters that information into the QuickBooks accounting system. A check is issued for all payments. The check includes the amount and a description of what the payment is for. This information is entered into the QuickBooks accounting system; a copy of the check along with a copy of the invoice is filed.

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 city uses QuickBooks accounting program to accurately calculate, track, and report payroll tax liabilities. Email correspondence with the Alaska Department of Labor indicated the community is current with its employment security compensation tax payments and deposits as of Octover, 2012. On November 9, 2012 the IRS deemed the city compliant. The community was not on the October 2012 Lien Watch report.

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 Kwethluk is covered by Alaska Municipal League Joint Insurance Association (AMLJIA)for workers compensation insurance effective to July 2013. The written job descriptions, recruitment and hiring procedures, and probation (three months) periods are covered under their personnel policies. All of the employees have personnel files with all of the required paperwork. Training is provided to all new employees as needed. Both water wastewater operators do not have their Small Water Systems certification but are experienced.

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's utility ordinance identifies the city as the owner and operator of the utility. Legislation approved by the council confirms that the council and sanitation department committee review utility policies and rates and make changes as needed. The manager is competent and operators are experienced but not certified in their positions. The operators are scheduled to attend training and certification in the near future. The bookkeeper needs more training in QuickBooks Pro. The city established the utilities rules and regulations in Resolution #07-04-04 adopted on May 8, 2007 and Ordinance #99-08-17, adopted on November 16, 1998.

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 water plant operator has no certification but is experienced and is scheduled to attend courses and trainings to get certification of service of the water treatment plant. A copy of the preventative maintenance plan was obtained by RUBA staff and is on file at the regional office. As of October, 2012, the community was not on Significant Non-Complier (SNC) list.