Quarterly Report: 2012, July - September (Q1), Scammon Bay

Community:
Scammon Bay 
Staff:
Fred Broerman  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of Scammon Bay 
Population:
517  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
10/26/2011 
Community Sanitation Overview:
The City of Scammon Bay operates the piped water and sewer utility and its council is the policy making body. The community's drinking water is derived from an infiltration gallery located on a small fast flowing stream just southeast of the city. The existing water treatment plant has been in place for about 30 years. The plant does not have the filtration equipment necessary to bring water from the stream into compliance with state drinking standards. This is due to recent changes in State of Alaska regulations regarding treatment of water derived from surface sources. Therefore a boil water notice has been in effect since 2007. Scammon Bay is chlorinating piped water. Construction on the city's new water treatment plant is to start in the summer of 2012. Scammon Bay provides piped water and sewer service to about 62 residents and 9 commercial buildings. Six newly constructed HUD homes, inhabited for about two years, have not been connected to the piped water and sewer system. Due to the design, materials, and age of the city's water distribution infrastructure there have been many leaks, which will continue until replaced. Cracks and leaks in the distribution lines cause low flow rates in the system which result in residential access lines freezing up in winter. The community does not have a washeteria.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Scammon Bay's billing for its piped water and sewer services has been handled by Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium's Billing Assistance Service since September 2009. Bethel RUBA staff contacted the city by email on July 1, 2010, September 21, 2010, December 21, 2010, March 25, 2011, June 14, 2011 and September 16, 2011 requesting documents needed for verification of RUBA essential indicators. At the time of this writing the city has not provided information needed to evaluate all essential indicators. However, Bethel RUBA staff has had a good working relationship with the city's new manager since he was hired in late March of 2011. The manager has been participating in Technical Assistant Provider (TAP) conference calls which have helped to bring him up to speed on the city's water and sewer problems that needed immediate attention. The manager has also done a good job of working through the past neglect of city business and dealing with its financial problems. The city contacted RUBA staff for assistance on several occasions during the third quarter of 2011. Assistance including guidance on writing ordinances (July 25, 2011), enforcement of city sales taxes (September 13 and 21, 2011), and election protocol (September 26-28, 2011). Bethel Staff also participated in a TAP meeting for the community on September 20, 2011 and a TAP Business Meeting conference call on September 21, 2011 during which a RUBA status update was given for the city. Scammon Bay's last RUBA assessment was completed on October 5, 2007. Therefore many indicators need reviewed and cannot be marked 'YES' until a new assessment is completed. However, Scammon's city council is seriously considering joining Alaska Rural Utility Cooperative (ARUC). The city will be receiving a $4 million dollar Indian Health Services grant (which does not require RUBA compliance) to build a new water plant for the community. An additional $1.7 million from VSW will be used complete the water plant project. ANTHC's engineer for the project indicated that the design for the new plant will soon be at the 95% completion phase with construction scheduled to start in 2012.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Bethel staff is willing to work with Scammon Bay's administrative staff to help the city with non compliant RUBA essential indicators.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
14 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
5 of 27
Total Score:
19 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.
No 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.
No 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.
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.
No A monthly manager's report is prepared.
No Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
Copies of Scammon Bay's FY12 budget and accompanying ordinance signed on June 22, 2011 are on file at the Bethel RUBA office. The budget appears to be detailed and balanced. The Bethel RUBA office has not been receiving monthly financial reports from city administrative staff, nor have meeting minutes been provided that document that the city council has an opportunity to review monthly financial reports. Monthly financial reports should include 'Budgeted', 'Current Month', 'Year to Date', and 'Remaining Balance' columns for each department, grant and project's expenditures and revenues. Since monthly financial reports have not been provided it cannot be determined if the utility is receiving revenues (user fees or other sources) sufficient to cover operating expenses. A September 23, 2011 email correspondence from Alaska Village Electric Cooperative indicates that six of the city's electric accounts have balances that are 30 days past due. On September 24, 2011 Scammon Bay received 4,500 gallons of heating fuel from Crowley which was paid for through Community Revenue Sharing and Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) funds. The city manager indicated that the delivery along with heating fuel the city had on hand would be adequate to provide the city's needs for the winter.

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.
No An accounts payable system is in place.
No The payroll system correctly calculates payroll and keeps records.
No A cash receipt system is in place that records incoming money and how it was spent.
No 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.
No Monthly bank reconciliations have been completed for all utility accounts.
No 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
Scammon Bay's billing for its piped water and sewer services has been handled by Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium's Billing Assistance Service since September 2009. An August 2011 financial summary from ANTHC indicates that the city has a 98% year-to-date collection rate for FY 2011. Scammon Bay's last RUBA assessment was completed on October 5, 2007. Therefore many indicators need reviewed and cannot be marked 'YES' until a new assessment is completed.

Tax Problems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No 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
A September 22, 2011 email correspondence from Alaska Department of Labor indicates that the City of Scammon Bay is in not compliance with Employment Security Tax filings. On September 26, 2011 the IRS faxed the Bethel RUBA Office an Authorization to Request Federal Tax Information form showing the city to be delinquent on their federal payroll taxes deposits and filings for 2009, 2010 and 2011. Therefore, because the city is not current on their state and federal tax requirements, two of the 'Tax Problems' essential indicators were marked 'No'. The city was not listed on the July-August 2011 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
No 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
The City of Scammon Bay is insured by Alaska Municipal League Joint Insurance Association, Inc (AMLJIA). Proof of the workers compensation insurance coverage was verified on the Department of Labor, Worker's Compensation website on October 2, 2011. The city's water plant operators recently received Small Water System Treated and Water Distribution 1 training through Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation Office of Environmental Health in Bethel on April of 2010. Scammon Bay's last RUBA assessment was completed on October 5, 2007. Therefore many 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.
Yes The policy making body enforces utility policy.
Yes The utility has an adequately trained manager.
Yes The utility has an adequately trained bookkeeper.
No 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
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
Scammon Bay has water and sewer ordinances that were passed on January 8, 2004 which indicate that the city is the sole owner of the utility and gives a description of service. The city has a Class 2 Water Distribution System, a Class 1 Water Treatment System, a Class 1 Wastewater Collection System and a Wastewater Lagoon. Neither of their water and sewer employees are certified to this level.

Operation of Utility

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes 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
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.
No Utility facilities have not suffered any major problems/outages due to management issues that are unresolved.
No The utility is operating at the level of service that was proposed.
No The operator provides status reports to the manager on a routine basis.
No The utility has completed and distributed its "Consumer Confidence Report".
No The utility is not on the "Significant Non-Complier" (SNC) list.
No The utility maintains an inventory control list.
No The utility maintains a critical spare parts list.
Operation of Utility Comments
On April 9, 2010 Carlie P. George passed the Small Water System Treated and Water Distribution I certification tests and Isaac O. Tomaganuk passed the Small Water System Treated certification. All three certificates expire on December 31, 2012. The city has a Class 2 Water Distribution System, a Class 1 Water Treatment System, a Class 1 Wastewater Collection System and a Wastewater Lagoon. Neither of their water and sewer employees are certified to this level. Copies of the 2010 Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) and a certification form signed by the city indicating the CCR has been posted and distributed in the community are electronically filed at the Bethel regional office. Scammon Bay's water system is on the July 2011 Significant Non-Complier (SNC) list because the water treatment plant does not have filtration equipment to comply with safe water regulations for its surface water source. Scammon Bay's last RUBA assessment was completed on October 5, 2007. Therefore many indicators need reviewed and cannot be marked 'YES' until a new assessment is completed.