Quarterly Report: 2012, January - March (Q3), Mekoryuk

Community:
Mekoryuk 
Staff:
Fred Broerman  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of Mekoryuk 
Population:
191  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
5/1/2012 
Community Sanitation Overview:
The City of Mekoryuk manages the water and sewer utility. In the 1970s the community had an underground piped water system installed that failed due to winter freeze ups. Later the city received one of the first flush tank and haul systems in rural Alaska which is still being used in ninety-six homes and eleven commercial establishments. The city would like to be considered for funding for a piped water and sewer system. The city has a water treatment plant, a nine million gallon lined reservoir, a hundred and twenty-five thousand gallon water storage tank, a washeteria with laundry facilities, public showers and a 4.2 acre sewage lagoon. The Lower Kuskokwim School District has its own well but uses the city's sewage lagoon.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
The city administrator attended a RUBA Financial Management for Utility Managers training held in Bethel from March 19-23, 2012. On March 5, 2012, Bethel RUBA staff participated by teleconference in a meeting concerning improvements needed to the trail to Mekoryuk's infiltration gallery. Representatives from Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, State of Alaska Village Safe Water (VSW), Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Denali Commission, Nunivak Island Mekoryuk Alaska Corporation (NIMA) and tribal and city leaders took part in a three hour meeting discussing funding options for trail improvements. The 2.5 mile trail from town to the community's water source/infiltration gallery on Mekoryuk River is unsafe at several points. The trail is used by the water operator to maintain the infiltration gallery and community members for subsistence fishing and hunting activities. It was concluded by most meeting participants that a portion of the BIA half million dollars now available for the project should be used for a scoping and analysis plan, and a design, for trail improvements, using the survey and design foot print of the 2004 road plan. Once a new design is completed, BIA's one million dollar grant should be used to construct trail improvements. Efforts were started in writing a request for proposals (RFP) for such a plan. The consensus from meeting participants was that having such a plan in hand would make the trail improvement project more attractive when applying for additional trail funding through agencies such as the Denali Commission. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Bethel staff is willing to work with city staff to bring their RUBA essential and sustainable indicators into compliance.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
19 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
15 of 26
Total Score:
34 of 52

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.
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
Answer Question
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.
No A monthly manager's report is prepared.
N/A Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
A copy of the City of Mekoryuk's FY 2012 Operating Budget and accompanying ordinance adopted on June 13, 2011 is on file at the Bethel regional office and it appears to be balanced and realistic. Minutes from council meetings held on November 14, 2011, December 30, 2011, and February 24, 2012 were provided for this report. Monthly financial reports for August, September, October, November of 2011 and January of 2012 were mentioned in the meeting minutes. The city's administrator has provided Bethel RUBA staff with a multi-month financial report containing the city's revenues and expenditures through February 2012. A March 13, 2012 email correspondence from Alaska Village Electric Cooperative (AVEC) indicates that there are significant 30 and 60 day overdue balances on the city's electric accounts. On July 1, 2010 the city received a delivery of 20,000 gallons of heating fuel. On August 22, 2011 the administrator indicated the city had 18,000 gallons of heating fuel on hand and that it would be adequate to cover the city's winter of 2011/2012 needs.

Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No The utility has adopted a collection policy and actively follows it.
No 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
No 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
A March 2012 accounts receivable aging report was submitted to Bethel regional office on March 29, 2012. The aging report shows significant amounts 31-60, 61-90 and 90+ days overdue for the customers of city's flush tank and haul utility. Therefore, the city is not enforcing 'Section 1.9 Payment Procedures' of Ordinance 94.04 which states 'Customers shall pay for deliveries at the time they order water from the city'. When cash is received for utility payments, the customer receives a receipt and the transaction is entered into QuickBooks. On April 3, 2012 the city administrator worked with Turnagain Press and the State of Alaska's RUBA Program Manager to reconcile the city's recent bank statements. It has been over two years since a RUBA assessment has been completed for the City of Mekoryuk. Therefore several indicators need reviewed and cannot be marked 'YES' until a new assessment is completed.

Tax Problems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
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.
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
An April 3, 2012 fax correspondence from IRS Taxpayer Advocate states that there are no current balances or information returns due for the city. However, a March 21, 2012 email correspondence from Department of Labor's Anchorage office indicates that the City of Mekoryuk is not compliant filing its Employment Security Tax reports and has a balance due. The city is not listed on the January-February 2012 LIEN WATCH: A Review of Small Community Liens.

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.
No The utility has adequate written job descriptions for all positions.
No 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.
Personnel System Comments
A March 29, 2012 query done on the Department of Labor's Worker's Compensation employer database indicates that the city has workers' compensation insurance for its employees through Alaska Municipal League Joint Insurance Association. On April 4, 2012 the administrator indicated she would be forwarding a copy of the city's personnel policy (revised on August 10, 2009) to the Bethel regional office. It has been over two years since a RUBA assessment has been completed for the City of Mekoryuk. Therefore several indicators need reviewed and cannot be marked 'YES' until a new assessment is completed.

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.
No 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
Answer Question
No 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 Bethel regional office has an unsigned copy of the City of Mekoryuk's Flush Tank Haul and Water Haul Tank System Ordinance 94.04 on file. The city needs to provide the Bethel regional office verification that the ordinance has been adopted. A March 2012 accounts receivable aging report was submitted to Bethel regional office. The aging report shows significant amounts 31-60, 61-90 and 90+ days overdue for the city's flush tank and haul utility. Therefore, the city is not enforcing 'Section 1.9 Payment Procedures' of Ordinance 94.04 which states 'Customers shall pay for deliveries at the time they order water from the city'. The City of Mekoryuk's water treatment operator has provisional water distribution and water treatment certificates that expire December 31, 2013 and is working toward his Class 1 certifications. The city has a Class 1 water treatment facility. City council is active in the policy making of the utility and usually meets at least monthly pursuant to Alaska Title 29. Public notification of meetings and the manner in which they are conducted are in accordance with Alaska's Open Meeting Act. It has been over two years since a RUBA assessment has been completed for the City of Mekoryuk. Therefore several indicators need reviewed and cannot be marked 'YES' until a new assessment is completed.

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
No 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".
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
A Draft Operation and Maintenance (OM) Manual dated March 2012 is electronically filed at the Bethel regional office. The OM Manual contains a preventative maintenance plan, inventory control and critical spare parts lists. The City of Mekoryuk's water treatment operator has provisional water distribution and water treatment certificates that expire December 31, 2013 and is working toward his Class 1 certifications. The city has a Class 1 water treatment facility. The water operator reports to the city administrator on daily facility operations. A copy of the city's 2010 Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) is electronically filed at the Bethel RUBA office along with a certification form signed by the city administrator on June 28, 2011 indicating the CCR was distributed and posted in the community. The city's water treatment facility is not on the January 2012 Significant Non-Complier (SNC) list. It has been over two years since a RUBA assessment has been completed for the City of Mekoryuk. Therefore several indicators need reviewed and cannot be marked 'YES' until a new assessment is completed.