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

Community:
Nondalton 
Staff:
Kathy Atkinson  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of Nondalton 
Population:
161  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
5/1/2012 
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 & Activities This Qtr:
Anchorage RUBA staff traveled to Nondalton February 13, 2012, to conduct a RUBA management capacity assessment at the city's request and to attend a city council meeting. All of the RUBA essential indicators and all but one of the sustainable indicators are currently being met. The city office and city utilities are well run due to the efforts of an experienced and dedicated staff. The city administrator carries much of the workload - everything from payroll, generating utility bills, fuel sales, and overseeing the city clerk's work, to making recommendations for new positions to provide city services such as regular road plowing. The mayor has 10 years of experience as the mayor and utility manager. The administrative assistant, DaWayne Constantine, has worked for the city in different roles since 2002. Due to the extensive experience of the mayor and administrative assistant, they are able to effectively mentor and guide the administrator who was hired in October, 2010. This summer, 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.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
The mayor, administrator, clerk, administrative assistant, and other city staff were open and helpful with providing information to complete this assessment. They realize the importance of community health, financial stability, effective utility management practice and sustainability. RUBA staff plans to travel to Nondalton during the next quarter and will schedule a date to coincide with the engineer's planned visit prior to the commencement of the summer's construction. RUBA staff is available to provide assistance to help them plan regular safety meetings, or any other assistance requested so the city can continue to provide excellent utility services to its residents.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
27 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
26 of 27
Total Score:
53 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
The FY12 budget was provided by the city administrator; the budget was adopted on June 14, 2011. All revenue and expenses for the utility are listed in the overall budget. The budget is realistic and balanced. The operating revenue exceeds the operating expenditures by $24,297. RUBA has received copies of monthly financial reports for September, October and December, 2011, and January 2012. The mayor, who also serves as the utility manager, makes a verbal report at the monthly city council meetings and his report is noted in the minutes. RUBA staff reviewed the minutes of the October 11, 2011 city council meeting, as well as the minutes of the December 2011 meeting and the two meetings in January 2012. (No meeting was held in November 2011 due to council members traveling.) The minutes of the December 2011 and January 2012 regular and January 2012 meeting were approved on February 14, 2012. Monthly financial reports are prepared and submitted to city council (the policy-making board) at their monthly meetings. The reports are reviewed and discussed by the mayor and council members at the meeting. Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary at city council meetings. The utility has adequate fuel. The city has the capacity to receive 2000 gallons of number 1 Heating Fuel (fuel truck) and 1000 Gallons of Gas (fuel trailer). Everts Air Fuel provides fuel on an as-needed basis. The city also utilizes Air Supply Alaska for fuel deliveries when Everts Air Fuel aircraft are unable to deliver fuel. The utility is current in paying all water and wastewater electric bills.

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 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.

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
The utility has a QuickBooks accounting system to accurately calculate, track, and report payroll tax liabilities. The city administrator does payroll and his work is regularly checked by the city's CPA who gets a regular salary for her oversight. The Alaska Department of Labor verified the city is current with making tax deposits through December 31, 2011. The IRS verified the city was in compliance with all tax deposits from March 1, 2009 through February 24, 2012.

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
Workers' compensation insurance is provided by Alaska Public Entity Entity Insurance and is valid through July 1, 2012. 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.

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 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 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.

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.
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
The utility operator has a Water Distribution Provisional Certification and has met the CEU requirements. The second 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 not on the 'Significant Non-Complier' (SNC) list. 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.