RUBA Community Status Report

Community Name: Nondalton


Community:

Nondalton

RUBA:

Yes

Staff:

Robin Eleazer

Agreement:

Yes

DCA Region:

Anchorage

Agreement Date:

6/6/2006

Region:

Alaska Peninsula

Exp Date:

6/6/2008

Govt Type(s):

2nd Class City

Borough:

Lake & Peninsula Borough

Assessment Date:

2/13/2012

Population:

178

Active Community:

Yes

Date Updated:

9/27/2013


Community Sanitation Overview:

The City of Nondalton operates the piped water and wastewater system and provides a central watering point for residents to haul their own water. The city provides water to the school, hauls garbage, sells fuel, plows snow from city roads and and maintains the airport runway. The city has rental income from leasing the clinic building; they own the building that is leased to the federal government as a Post Office. The city council is the policy-making body for the utility; effectively, the city council serves as the utility board. An infiltration gallery at Six-Mile Lake supplies the community with treated water. They pump and treat 80,000 to 100,000 gallons a day. There are 88,000 gallons of storage capacity and 60 residences are connected to the piped water and wastewater system. The other major customer is Newhalen Lodge which provides seasonal service to approximately forty customers from June to September. The materials are onsite to renovate the utility building which will allow the treatment plant to come into compliance; right now they are only equipped to treat surface water and cannot filter or remove arsenic. They are under a DEC compliance order because the existing facility does not meet surface water treatment standards. Construction is planned to begin in June 2012. The INN Electric Cooperative owns a diesel plant in Newhalen and 50 miles of distribution line which connect Iliamna, Newhalen and Nondalton. The Tazimina Hydroelectric Project powers the three communities.

RUBA Status
and Activities
this Quarter:

In the summer of 2013, Nondalton's utility treatment plant will be completely renovated, a 30,000 gallon chlorine contact tank will be installed, and there will be five new service connections. The city is applying for a gaming and pull-tab permit in order to raise money throughout the year for an annual winter carnival, with any leftover revenue to supplement the city's operating expenses. Two city staff attended a one-day IRS workshop on March 25 conducted by the Office of Indian Tribal Governments and the State of Alaskas gaming unit. Workshop presenters provided information and answered questions regarding federal and state regulations on pull-tab and gaming activities, permitting, and financial and tax reporting requirements. The city continues to meet all its essential utility management capacity indicators and all but one of its 27 sustainable indicators.

 

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.

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:

Yes

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:

The FY14 budget was adopted on June 11, 2013. All revenue and expenses for the utility are listed in the overall budget. The budget is realistic and balanced. The budget lists operating revenue at $97,000 and is based on a 85% utility collections rate. Utility expenditures are listed at $92,000. RUBA staff have not received monthly financial reports as requested, but the community has a historically good record of providing these reports to the governing body.

 

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 city's chart of accounts is set up through the QuickBooks program. The city has been using QuickBooks since 2007. Utility customers are billed regularly on or before the 20th of each month in accordance with the collection policy. The city clerk inputs the Accounts Payable for the utility customers and cuts checks every Wednesday. According to the city council minutes dated August 9, 2011, the city introduced an amendment based on a sample amendment for consumer complaints about the utility; the amendment passed at the August 10, 2011 meeting. The city administrator supplied RUBA staff with eight spreadsheet pages showing the city's transactions by account for the quarter ending December 31, 2012. The cover page summarized the utilities collection rate - the amount billed, the amount collected and the rate of collection for each month in the quarter. The total rate of collection for the quarter ending December 31, 2011 was 104.25 percent which demonstrates the city is actively pursuing and successfully collecting past due accounts and amounts. Customers that have an old debt for utility services are asked to agree in writing to be charged an extra $20 on all their subsequent utility bills until their old debt is paid off. An accounts payable system is in place. The payroll system correctly calculates payroll and keeps records. A cash receipt system is in place that records incoming money and how it was spent. A chart of accounts is used that identifies categories in a reasonable, usable manner. The administrator provided a chart of accounts and an actual utility bill. Monthly bank reconciliations have been completed for all utility accounts. The utility has a purchasing system that requires approval prior to purchase, and the approval process compares proposed purchases to budgeted amounts. The mayor approves all purchases. The city administrator and the city clerk both input data into QuickBooks. In addition, a Certified Public Accountant, Joyce Herr, is paid a regular salary to review all the accounts monthly and sometimes more frequently. The administrator and clerk call the CPA whenever they have a question. The same CPA completed a Certified Financial Statement for the city last year. She keeps her own version of the city's books so she can quickly identify and rectify any discrepancies that may come up in her review of the QuickBook entries the city administrator or clerk makes in the city's QuickBooks program, and to provide direct instruction. The administrator provided RUBA staff with a chart of accounts, the city's collection policy that was revised in 2006 in the utility ordinance, an aging summary, and a bill statement that showed the proper format that was being used.

 

Capacity Indicator: Tax Problems

Essential Indicators:

Yes

The utility has a system to accurately calculate, track, and report payroll tax liabilities.

No

The utility is current on filing tax reports.

No

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.

Comment:

As of September 19, the city was not in compliance pending the return of the Authorization to Request Federal Tax Information and the Department of Labor report, which was faxed to the community on August 29. Tax clearance with the State Department of Labor has not been verified, as of September 27, 2013. The utility has a QuickBooks accounting system to accurately calculate, track, and report payroll tax liabilities. The city administrator does payroll and her work is regularly checked by the city's CPA who gets a regular salary for her oversight.

 

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:

Workers' compensation insurance is provided by Alaska Public Entity Entity Insurance and is valid as of September 27, 2013. The notice of insurance is posted in city hall and in two other places on the employer's premises as required by AS 23.30.060. The city utilizes a personnel policy that was previously reviewed by DCCED. During the assessment, the reviewer noted that the city had written job descriptions, personnel files were neatly organized, and contained required documentation. New hires undergo a probationary period and employees have the opportunity to travel for training as needed. There is money for training in the current budget. A city council member completed the RUBA Personnel Management for Rural Utilities class held in Anchorage in April, 2012.

 

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 of Nondalton is the owner of the utility. The decision-making authority and enforcement of the utility policy is vested in the council. The city administrator has oversight of the utility and maintains the books for the utility with the assistance of a Certified Public Accountant. The city clerk makes some entries in the books as well, mainly to do with fuel sales. The CPA reviews the city's QuickBooks accounts regularly and compares them with her own books which are kept separately, both as a check-and-balance system and as a back-up in the event the city's QuickBook files are corrupted or destroyed. The city does not have a digital copy of their code of ordinances. They have two printed copies of their code adopted May 1, 1990. Ordinances passed since then are kept in various loose leaf notebooks. City staff requested RUBA staff assistance in organizing and digitizing the city's code of ordinances. At the on-site visit to Nondalton June 28-29,2012, RUBA staff copied as many of the old ordinances, amended ordinances and new ordinances as possible. City staff sent copies of the rest of the ordinances by mail. The water plant operator sees that the day-to-day duties of the plant are performed with oversight by the city administrator and mayor. The mayor visits the water plant daily on weekdays and talks to the water plant operator on duty. The policy-making body - the city council - is active in making policy for the utility and enforces utility policy. The bookkeeper and manager and operators are adequately trained. The utility has adopted the necessary ordinances to give it the authority to operate. RUBA staff reviewed the city's utility ordinance and all amendments and found it to be adequate. The city council (which acts as the utility board) meets monthly and complies with the Open Meetings Act for all meetings.

 

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.

No

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.

Comment:

The utility operator has a Water Distribution Provisional Certification and has met the CEU requirements. The primary and secondary utility operator attended water operator training in Dillingham April 16-20, 2012. The backup operator has a Water Distribution and Water Treatment Provisional Certification and has met the CEU requirements. After the overhaul of the operating plant is completed in the fall, the operators will get additional training on the new system. The mayor visits the utility plant facility every weekday, and sometimes on weekends, to talk with the operator on duty and to determine whether the daily, weekly, and monthly maintenance requirements are met; this meets the requirement for the operator to provide status reports to the utility manager (in this case, the mayor) on a routine basis. The primary utility operator gives a verbal operations and management report to the mayor and city administrator at least monthly. The city has a written safety policy and a safety manual that is kept onsite. The administrator gave RUBA staff a copy of the city's safety policy. In addition, the city has a Site Specific Safety Plan and Accident Prevention Plan for their Water System Improvements Project that is 18 pages long which was prepared for the city and ANTHC by Summit Consulting Services, Inc. in June 2008. However, the utility does not hold regular safety meetings, so it does not meet that sustainable indicator.The utility has completed and distributed its 'Consumer Confidence Report'. The utility is listed on the 'Significant Non-Complier' (SNC) list for July, 2013 due to failure to sample required parameters. The utility facilities have not suffered any major problems or outages due to management issues that are unresolved. The utility is operating at the level of service that was proposed. New customers will be added to the system at the end of this summer's construction. The administrator also gave RUBA staff a copy of the 'Water and Sewer Critical Spare Parts List and Inventory' that was updated by the water operator on February 1, 2012, in addition to a copy of the Maintenance Order Request Form that must be submitted and approved by the mayor.

RUBA Activities for the Coming Quarter:

RUBA staff will continue to work with city staff to organize, digitize and codify the city's code of ordinances, merging new and amended ordinances with the code of ordinances adopted in 1990, and to assist them with complying with the RUBA quarterly reporting requirements. RUBA staff is available to help the utility plan regular safety meetings, or to provide any other assistance requested so the city can continue to provide excellent utility services to its residents.