RUBA Community Status Report

Community Name: Port Heiden


Community:

Port Heiden

RUBA:

Yes

Staff:

Barbara Higgins

Agreement:

Yes

DCA Region:

Anchorage

Agreement Date:

1/30/2012

Region:

Alaska Peninsula

Exp Date:

1/30/2014

Govt Type(s):

2nd Class City

Borough:

Lake & Peninsula Borough

Assessment Date:

3/17/2012

Population:

101

Active Community:

Yes

Date Updated:

10/8/2013


Community Sanitation Overview:

Individual wells and wastewater tank systems are used by most homes in Port Heiden; 31 of 37 occupied households are fully plumbed. The school operates its own well and treatment system. The city currently provides wastewater pumping services and collects refuse three times a week. The landfill is located 6.5 miles northeast of the community. Fuel is delivered twice a year via barge and stored in city-owned fuel tanks. The electric plant and distribution lines are owned by the city.

RUBA Status
and Activities
this Quarter:

RUBA staff made an on-site visit August 5-9 to work on the essential indicator, 'the utility has adopted a balanced realistic budget' and provide a workshop for the council on the budget process and assist the administrator in completing the budget process. RUBA staff and city staff worked on providing to the council a worksheet for the FY14 budget that included a three year average of past budget performance. Revenues and Expenditures were found to be relatively consistent from year to year. A workshop was provided to the council regarding the budget process. The council's obligation and responsibility regarding spending city's funds was discussed, and what was considered good practices to ensure the city is meeting state expectations and serving the residents of their community by providing sustainable services. A format and calculations of past performance to assist the council with setting the FY14 budget was provided. Time was spent going over the numbers of the budget and provided was a good line of questions the council should be asking of their staff to better understand the budget numbers. RUBA staff suggested the city should tie their spending to the Capital Improvement Projects that they had consistently made resolutions for and submitted to their borough and the state. The city submitted and received a Bulk Fuel Loan from the state this quarter, and fuel has been ordered and on its way to the community by barge. RUBA staff also assisted the utility with questions about fuel pricing, finalizing the FY14 budget, and withholding employee payroll taxes.

 

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.

No

Monthly financial reports are prepared and submitted to the policy making board.

N/A

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.

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.

Yes

A monthly manager's report is prepared.

No

Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.

Comment:

The city has adopted the FY14 city budget. A copy of the budget and the FY12 Certified Financial has been submitted to the Division of Community and Regional Affairs as required for eligibility of community revenue sharing. The bookkeeper provides the city council with monthly financial reports but the reports do not compare actual YTD revenues and expenses with the budget. The utility's budget does not identify electric expenses as a line item for the utility. The utility does not use fuel other than gas for the wastewater pumping. Heating fuel and gasoline for the city is ordered twice a year and is delivered by barge in the spring and fall. A Bulk Fuel Bridge Loan is secured from the state and is paid back in a timely manner. It should be noted that the utility only provides service in the summer months as the utility operates wastewater pumping services. The utility does not have a line item for repair and replacement in the budget. The meeting minutes indicate that the administrator provides a verbal report every month, the minutes include what was reported.

 

Capacity Indicator: Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators:

Yes

The utility has adopted a collection policy and actively follows it.

N/A

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.

No

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 accounts receivable balances have been reconciled; with installation of the pay-as-you-go electric metering system (AMPY) that is set up to collect 20 percent of all past due balances. Beginning balances of all the accounts have been entered into the system. The bookkeeper uses QuickBooks 2012 for financial recordkeeping. Customer invoices are entered into the accounts receivable program. Sales receipts are entered as sales of services are made. The utility bookkeeper is proficient in the use of QuickBooks. Payroll records are up to date as of August 2013. A copy of every receipt is kept in sequentially numbered permanent receipt books. The utility's chart of accounts identifies all asset accounts (undeposited funds, bank accounts, and accounts receivables), all liability accounts, and fund balances. Income and expense accounts are identified in a manner that matches the income and expense line items in the budget. Monthly bank reconciliations are not current through August 2013. All purchases are approved by the mayor and council.

 

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.

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.

Comment:

The Department of Labor and the IRS on September 18, 2013 have granted tax clearance. The taxpayer is on the lien watch report (June 2013) for a default judgment dating back to 2007.

 

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.

No

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.

No

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:

According to the Notice of Insurance, workers compensation insurance is provided by the Alaska Municipal League Joint Insurance Association (AMLJIA) from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014. A check of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development web site on September 19, 2013 confirmed the policy is active. A copy of the personnel policies is on file with RUBA. The evaluation process is described in the utility personnel policies and the council performs employee evaluations on a yearly basis. The city's current hiring policy is not written. Job notices are posted with the job title and description; interested applicants apply at the city office. Personnel folders only hold payroll information. The city's budget includes an appropriation for staff training.

 

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.

No

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 is known to operate the service that removes wastewater from holding tanks, however the city does not have the necessary ordinances to give it the authority to operate the utility. The bookkeeper has three years of experience on the job and has attended a QuickBooks training class sponsored by RUBA. He is competent and maintains all of the accounting systems in a professional manner. The utility has adopted an organization chart and it is on file with RUBA staff. Meeting minutes and agendas for June, July and August 2013 were submitted to confirm that the utility complies with the Open Meetings Act for all meetings.

 

Capacity Indicator: Operation of Utility

Essential Indicators:

N/A

The utility operator(s) are actively working towards necessary certification.

No

The utility has a preventative maintenance plan developed for the existing sanitation facilities.

Sustainable Indicators:

N/A

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.

N/A

The utility has a safety manual and holds safety meetings.

N/A

Utility facilities have not suffered any major problems/outages due to management issues that are unresolved.

N/A

The utility is operating at the level of service that was proposed.

N/A

The operator provides status reports to the manager on a routine basis.

N/A

The utility has completed and distributed its "Consumer Confidence Report".

N/A

The utility is not on the "Significant Non-Complier" (SNC) list.

N/A

The utility maintains an inventory control list.

N/A

The utility maintains a critical spare parts list.

Comment:

The community currently does not have a piped water system. Residents rely on private wells and private waterwater tanks; there has not been a need to meet water quality and operator certification requirements. RUBA staff has not viewed a preventative maintenance plan for the wasterwater pumper equipment.

RUBA Activities for the Coming Quarter:

A RUBA work plan has been developed in an effort to bring the community up to an acceptable management performance standard. Continued RUBA assistance to this community depends on the community meeting a baseline level of progress towards improvement. The council has signed a RUBA assistance agreement that outlines the services RUBA will provide.