Quarterly Report: 2007, January - March (Q3), Grayling

Community:
Grayling 
Staff:
Ken Berlin  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of Grayling 
Population:
171  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
5/1/2007 
Community Sanitation Overview:
Water is derived from an infiltration gallery at Grayling Creek, treated, strored and piped throughout the community. All but three homes are connected to the piped water and sewer system. The remaining three have piped water. Grayling has recently upgraded the water treatement and plumbed 20 homes. A new landfill site has been funded. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
On January 10, 2007 Anchorage and Bethel staff met with Yukon Kuskokwim Rural Utilities Cooperative staff in Bethel to complete a reassessment of management capacity for the city of Grayling Water/Sewer utilities. YKHC-RUC staff provided the documentation supporting the conclusions in this report. Specific documents used in this report may be viewed in the Bethel office. The report is of the management of the utility only and does not reflect the City of Grayling policies and procedures. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Monitor RUC reports and provide assistance when requested.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
27 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
27 of 27
Total Score:
54 of 54

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
Monthly finance and budget reports are prepared as two separate documents. RUC prepares and sends out (to the community on a monthly basis) a financial report showing revenues and expenditures for both Grayling system as well as 'Central Administration.' This report lists expenses and revenue categories with columns showing amounts for 'This Month,' Last Month,' Year to Date,' and 'Budget.' Since the initial report in June 2006, RUC has added a line item for 'Replacement Part Reserve.' Most sanitation funding and regulatory agnecies recommend that utilities track repair and replacement separately. The Sanitation Business Plan Template requires that utilities account for repair and replacement separately. The budget process begins with the RUC Manager and Accountant drafting a budget using the previous year's actuals and the next year's projections. Future plans are considered when making the projections. The budget is submitted to the YKHC Board of Directors for approval. RUC provided a copy of the monthly statement from the Alaska Village Electric Cooperative for Grayling. RUC pays the utility electric bill promptly and completely each month. Fuel for the utility is purchased bi-annually. The operators self-report fuel consumption. RUC has instigated fuel use efficiency and accountability practices that have substantially lowered the consumption and expenses in the community.

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 charges flat ratees for residential customers. Combined bills for water and sewer ($70/mon) are mailed at the end of each month. Commercial customers are either metered ($.10/gal) or charged a flat rate ($100/mon). Payments of money orders or checks only are sent to a lock box at Wells Fargo who submits a payment report to RUC daily. Payments of check, cash, money order or credit card may be made at the RUC Bethel office. A hand written receipt is issued at time of payment. RUC also used QuickBooks Pro for accounting purposes. Presently bills are sent at the end of each month. They are considered overdue if unpaid 20 days later. Thirty days after that, the operators are given a list to place pink door hangers alerting the customer that service will be shut off in three days. RUC strictly enforces the three day notice with disconnection of service for non-payment. Payment plans are offered, however, the manager noted that many customers do not honor the payment plan. NSF checks are submitted to a collection agency. Through the MOA, RUC has the authority to change customer rates. The manager and acountant make recommendations to the advisory board who votes support or non-support of the request. A vote of support is submitted to the YKHC Board of Directors for action. The utility has a written purchasing system. An operator places a purchase request to the manager who then submits the request to administration. Administration checks the budget prior to approval. Approving signatures required for the purchase is based upon the amount of purchase requested.

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.
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.
Tax Problems Comments
A signed Tax Information Release Authorization was provided by the YKHC-RUC as the utility is an enterprise system included in the YKHC's tax payer EIN. The IRS deemed the taxpayer in compliance at this time. The State Department of Labor reports the YKHC in compliance at this time. Paper time cards are submitted to YKHC who calculates, tracks, and reports payroll liabilities through a computer system. This tax information pertains to the management of the utility only.

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 utility has a posted worker's compensation insurance policy from Alaska National Insurance Company for the period of February 1, 2007 through February 1, 2008. The insurance covers all employees of RUC including the operators in Grayling. All RUC employees follow the YKHC adopted personnel policy which was reviewed by an attorney. Employees are at-will hire. An evaluation is performed at 90 days and one year from hire. The blank evaluation form is attached to the position description and presented to the employee upon hire. All new hires attend a corporate orientation for 2 1/2 days in Bethel for instruction regarding company policies, procedures, and department specific orientation. On-site training is also provided. Job openings are posted, with job titles and duties, in the village for at least a week. Native and local hire are encouraged. Applications are submitted to YKHC who completes the background and reference checks. The personnel policy also allows for temporary hires for short term projects. Training opportunities are provided to staff when money allows. YKHC, Office of Environmental Health operates the training program and presents four classes per year. The Remote Maintenance Worker also presents CEU modules on-site.

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
Grayling has signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with YKHC-RUC to operate the utility. The MOA was signed for two years with option for renewal. YKHC-RUC has an advisory board that meets three times a year to recommend policy and procedures via letters of support to the YKHC Board of Directors. The Board of Directors has the authority to set rates and adopt policies, ordinances, and procedures for the Grayling utility. The RUC Manager is also diligent in personally attending city council meetings to present utility information. Recently RUC hired a project manager/accountant. Mr. Lee Piper is responsible to oversee the accounting procedures for all RUC communities. YKHC finance department tracks and issues the payroll. Two certified operators live in Grayling. Edward Deacon is registered as Water Distribution OIT until 12/31/06. Dennis West is registered as Water Distribution OIT until 12/31/08. The systems has received a certificate of public convenience from the Regulatory Commission of Alaska.

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
Copies of operator certification and the preventative maintenance plan arwere submitted and area available in the Bethel Regional office. Safety training is provided in conjunction with regularly scheduled operations training. Grayling utility has not suffered any major problems/outages due to management issues. A summer intern will completed an inventory and critical spare parts list. The utility has a large amount of inventory and critical spare parts on hand. With the stable labor force and frequent RMW on-site support, maintenance requirements are minimal.