RUBA Community Status Report

Community Name: Kwethluk


Community:

Kwethluk

RUBA:

Yes

Staff:

Ken Berlin

Agreement:

Yes

DCA Region:

Bethel

Agreement Date:

8/1/2008

Region:

Lower Kuskokwim

Exp Date:

10/1/2008

Govt Type(s):

2nd Class City

Borough:

Unorganized

Assessment Date:

12/11/2012

Population:

721

Active Community:

Yes

Date Updated:

12/5/2013


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
and Activities
this Quarter:

The City of Kwethluk administrative and finance staff are responsive to requests for documents and reports. City staff are stable and competent. The city e-paids taxes after every payroll. An FY14 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. Monthly finance reports are up to date to October 2013 with city council review and approval, but the meeting minutes need to be approved at the next regular city council meeting before copies can be sent out. The city bookkeeper requested assistance with inputting the FY14 budget into QuickBooks and instructions were sent to her. RUBA staff sent the city bookkeeper with Turnagain Press phone number and office hours for QuickBooks assistance. RUBA staff got an e-mail from the city manager of the city of Kwethluk with an attachment from DEC that the city has an interim approval to operate the Kwethluk water system. This interim is good for September 2013 to February 2014 and outlines submittal requirements to receive final approval.

 

Capacity Indicator: Finances

Essential Indicators:

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.

No

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:

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.

Comment:

An FY14 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. Monthly finance reports are up to date to October 2013 with city council review and approval. The city council meeting minutes will be sent after they are approved at the next city council meeting. A request for a copy of current billing from the Kuiggluum Kallugvia Electric Company was not returned. The city uses annually budgeted funds to purchase fuel from Crowley Marine Services. The city does not maintain a Repair and Replacement line item.

 

Capacity Indicator: Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators:

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:

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.

Comment:

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.

 

Capacity Indicator: Tax Problems

Essential Indicators:

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.

Comment:

The city uses QuickBooks accounting program to accurately calculate, track, and report payroll tax liabilities. The Alaska Department of Labor indicated the city complaint to June 2013. On June 26, 2013 the IRS deemed the city compliant. The community was not on the September-October 2013 Lien Watch report.

 

Capacity Indicator: Personnel System

Essential Indicators:

Yes

The utility has a posted workers compensation insurance policy in effect.

Sustainable Indicators:

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.

Comment:

The City of Kwethluk is covered by Alaska Municipal League Joint Insurance Association (AMLJIA)for workers compensation insurance effective to July 2014. 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.

 

Capacity Indicator: Organizational Management

Essential Indicators:

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:

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.

Comment:

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 is adequately trained but 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.

 

Capacity Indicator: Operation of Utility

Essential Indicators:

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:

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.

Comment:

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 July 2013 the community was not on Significant Non-Complier (SNC) list.

RUBA Activities for the Coming Quarter:

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.