Quarterly Report: 2012, April - June (Q4), Ambler

Community:
Ambler 
Staff:
Margaret Hansen  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of Ambler 
Population:
278  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
7/26/2012 
Community Sanitation Overview:
The main source of water for the community is a 167' well near the Kobuk River. Water is pumped 940 feet to the treatment facility and stored in a 210,000-gallon insulated tank, then piped to most homes. An 80' standby well is also located at the water treatment plant. Wastewater is collected via six and eight inch arctic pipes and flows to a facultative lagoon through two lift stations where it discharges to a natural watershed, then the Kobuk River. Currently, 53 homes are served by the piped water and wastewater system. The washeteria project is still incomplete since no new funding has been secured. The new lift station and lagoon was operational in January 2011. This new construction has made operations much easier. The construction of a new water treatment plant is 65% complete with building shell up and plumbing and electrical underway; construction was estimated to be completed in May 2012 but most likely will not be completed until the fall. A new community water well was developed and is ready to be brought online. Last year ANTHC secured $435,000 in funding from the AEA for heat recovery in the water treatment plant. The heat recovery system design is complete and construction was to begin in September 2011, with construction expected to be complete in July 2012; this timeline has been extended to 2014. ANTHC has provided water plant building information to NWAB for a solar panel installation project and will consult the structural engineer when provided the solar panel layout/design. In addition an update to the existing master plan is 100% complete. The Ambler City Council has turned over the water plant operations to Alaska Rural Utilities Collaborative (ARUC) starting August 1, 2010.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Kotzebue LGS staff traveled to the City of Ambler on May 23, to provide training and assistance to the city clerk and administrator for budgeting and financial reporting. LGS staff attended a special meeting to amend the FY12 budget and introduce the FY13 budget. During the meeting, LGS staff presented information on Alaska Statute, Title 29, which governs municipalities, explained the state revenue sharing program and showed the council and city staff how to get into the DCRA database to retrieve past budgets and certified financial statements. City staff were also given assistance resolving an IRS payroll issue and discussing the city's future fuel plans. The City of Ambler contacted Kotzebue LGS staff regarding road erosion along the river. LGS staff met with the NANA Regional Corporation land manager to discuss usage of exposed asbestos gravel and to provide him with photographs showing the severity of spring ice breakup and flooding which threaten utility infrastructure. Kotzebue staff worked with the mayor to determine the best site location for water and wastewater in the new housing plans. The community was contacted by the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium engineer who has researched the area and identified the most suitable and cost effective site; the council will discuss this location further. During the last quarter, LGS staff coordinated with Everts Air Fuel when the tribe who sells the gas for the community ran out. They had been out of fuel for a month when Everts delivered 2,000 gallons of gas even though the tribe still had an outstanding debt owed to Everts. The Everts representative stated that the community needs to have a plan as to how they will provide a continuous supply of fuel, as the tribe continues to have financial challenges. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff will continue to provide assistance and training upon request.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
26 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
27 of 27
Total Score:
53 of 53

Finances

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
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.
Finances Comments
The ARUC financial reports show a balanced realistic budget. All revenues and expenses for the utility are listed within the budget, and are reported to the council on a monthly basis. During the last quarter, the financials show that their collection rate is 97%. This documents that the community is receiving user fees to cover their operating expenses and repair and replacement costs. No budget amendment is needed at this time.

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
ARUC bills customers on a monthly basis and actively follow the adopted collection policy. They utilize an accounting system which reports past due amounts, an accounts payable system, and a payroll system that correctly calculates payroll and keeps payroll records. Their system records all incoming money and how it was spent using a cash disbursement system. ARUC uses their budget line items as the chart of accounts, reconciling bank accounts before completing their monthly reports. The community uses their budget and latest monthly financial report before approving purchases using purchase orders that are approved and recorded.

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
According to completed tax authorization reports from the IRS and Department of Labor, the City of Ambler has no known debt and are current on filing and depositing taxes and reports.

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
ARUC and the city have paid the workers compensation insurance in full, which is posted and will remain in effect until October 2012 as verified by AMLJIA. The city has an adopted personnel policy. The policy has been reviewed by AML. A written personnel evaluation process that ties into adequately written job descriptions is used. The city follows a written hiring process and has a probationary period for new hires that includes orientation, job training oversight and evaluations. ARUC provides training opportunities to employees onsite and supports attendance at any training the Department of Environmental Conservation puts on through Maniilaq Association. The city has budgeted funds to cover the costs to send utility personnel or council members to training as needed.

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 council knows and enforces policy in order to effectively run their utility. They comply with the open meetings act and meet monthly. They work with ARUC and support them with all their decisions. They have adopted an organizational chart that reflects their current structure. The adequately trained administrator oversees all staff of the organization. They follow the ordinances adopted to give authority. LGS staff has the ARUC organizational chart on file. ARUC has a trained manager and bookkeeper who report to the council on the operations of the utility. The operator is not certified, but plans on attending any training available.

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 two operators have been actively working towards their certification. The Remote Maintenance Worker continues to train and assist onsite. The utility follows the preventative maintenance plan which helps prevent major problems. The utility is operating at the level proposed and maintains an inventory control list and critical spare parts list. They have completed and distributed a Consumer Confidence Report. The utility staff have held safety meetings and the manager receives a monthly report from the operators and routinely spot checks the facilities to see that the maintenance is being completed. Ambler is not on the Significant Non-Complier (SNC) list.