Quarterly Report: 2011, January - March (Q3), Deering

Community:
Deering 
Staff:
Georgianna Phillips  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of Deering 
Population:
133  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
5/4/2011 
Community Sanitation Overview:
The City of Deering operates the piped sewer and water haul system, as well as the central washeteria. The City Council is the policy making body for the utility. Water is derived from the Inmachuk River; it is treated and pumped to a 400,000-gallon insulated storage tank. Residents pay to have water delivered to their homes. The sewage system is a vacuum system that is piped to a lagoon. A new washeteria, water treatment plant, and sewage collection lines are completed. An additional water storage tank was completed in 2006 and upgraded lines from the tanks to the water treatment plant have been completed. The City has a DEC permit for the sewage lagoon, but DEC wants them to update it to reflect design changes made during construction. RUBA is working with the engineer and DEC to allow time for an in depth study to determine whether the system can be fixed, or needs to be replaced. The feasibility study stands at approximately 65% complete and VSW is concerned with the appearance of a cave-in in the Sewage Lagoon. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
The new Administrator called and requested assistance with QuickBooks for payroll and the end-of-year taxes. At the time staff was unable to travel to Deering due to scheduling. We were able to direct him to the QuickBooks Hotline and he then hired a bookkeeper to assist with his payroll and end-of-year reports. We also dealt with a situation with the credit card and debit card under the city's name. It was changed from a business account to a public fund account which automatically closed the debit card. The credit card account is still active and being closely monitored. To date, one year of Power Cost Equalization (PCE) reports have been submitted to the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA) and the city is still one year behind in filing for the Power Cost Equalization (PCE) subsidies. The utility is still required to provide customers with the PCE credit. RUBA staff advised that the city council meet with the Electric Utility and resolve this issue. The council has not met due to lack of quorum for the quarter. The city had a power outage in January and city staff were referred to Alaska Energy Authority, Circuit Rider Program for assistance with the utility. Currently a new generator is to be installed this spring. The city has had difficultly paying off accounts payable and did at one point close its office due to lack of funds. With the past use of the credit card and debit card, the administrator had been working at balancing out payments of bills but, due to weather, expected arrival of payments did not make it on a timely basis. The administrator kept the water/wastewater utility staff working and informed the mayor of his decision not to report to work until he received revenue. The adminsistrator called and informed RUBA Staff that he was back at work after two (2) days of closure. Kotzebue RUBA staff has also provided assistance to the community on several deficient RUBA essential indicators. The constant turnover in staff has made progress in meeting RUBA indicators a challenge. Currently the Deering is on the SNC List. In 2008, VSW was in the early stages of studying the source of water in preparation for designing a new treatment system. No new information on the hardware of this water treatment plant is available. The current treatment system does not meet LT1 for Crptosporidium removal but does meet SWTR giardia removal requirements. Upgrades need to address TTHM and HAA5 MCL exceedence. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
The City Administrator has requested more training and assistance from the Kotzebue staff who will schedule a trip this next quarter.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
15 of 24
Sustainable Indicators:
15 of 27
Total Score:
30 of 51

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
Monthly financial reports have not been provided to Kotzebue staff. The administrator stated that he is having computer problems so we do not know if he is receiving revenues sufficient to cover operating costs nor do we know if his revenues and expenses are at a level equal to those budgeted or whether or not he needs to do a budget amendment. He has not been able to get the council to hold their monthly meetings so have not prepared a manager's report to the council. In speaking to Ipnatchiaq electric, he has not paid any utiity bills since October.

Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No 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.
No 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 has adopted a collection policy but has not been able to actively follow it because they have not been able to meet regularly due to no quorum. The customers are being billed on a regular basis by using quickbooks who tracks customers and reports past due amounts. Currently ARUC bills for the Sewer Utility and the City does the Water and Garbage. Since the City makes deliveries by the gallon there was not a system in which it would be feasible for ARUC to bill customers. They also use quickbooks for accounts payable, payroll, cash receipts and cash disbursement that records incoming money and how it was spent. They use their budget as the chart of accounts reconciling their transactions monthly. The city has an purchasing system that require approval prior to purchase to budgeted amounts.

Tax Problems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility has a system to accurately calculate, track, and report payroll tax liabilities.
N/A The utility is current on filing tax reports.
N/A 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
The city still utilizes quickbooks to accurately calculate, track and report payroll tax liabilities. Per completed tax authorization form, they are current in filing tax reports, making deposits and have no lien at this time.

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.
No 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.
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 has paid in full their workmens compensation which is posted in the city office building effective until July 2011. The city has adopted a personnel policy that has been reviewed by AML, along with adequate job descriptions. Their policies has an adequate hiring process has a probationary period for new hires that inlcudes orientation and job training but no known evaluations were found on file as well as letter of acceptance.

Organizational Management

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The entity that owns the utility is known; the entity that will operate the utility is set.
No The policy making body is active in policy making of the utility.
No The policy making body enforces utility policy.
No The utility has an adequately trained manager.
No 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
Yes The utility has adopted an organizational chart that reflects the current structure.
No 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 is the known entity who oversees the utility who adopted ordinances to give it authority with an organizational chart that reflects the current structure. Because the council has not been able to meet regularly, they are not active in policy making for the utility or enforcing of the utility policy. But when they do meet, they comply with the open meetings act which includes posting the meeting notices at three public places at least five days in advance. The administrator of five months needs more training who also acts as the bookkeeper. Currently the alternate has been hired as permanent and although not certified has had training to operate the system. The Administrator has also hired another operator and both are scheduled for training in Kotzebue.

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".
No 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
Currently the City of Deering is on the SNC list. 2008 VSW was in the early stages in designing a new treatment system. No new information on the hardware of this WTP, the current Treatment System does not meet LT1 for Cryptosporidium removal but does meet SWTR giardia removal requirements. Upgrades need to address TTHM and HAAA5 MCL exceedence. Spoke with VSW on what stage the Design Plans were for the Water and Sewer, currently the study is about 65% complete and is still deficient in the treatment process. The new administrator does spot check the facilities to make sure that maintenance is being completed and receives a report from the operator who assures that his inventory and critical spare parts list is maintained. Although the city has a safety manual, no known safety meetings have been held. No known outages due to management issues so they are operating a the level of service proposed.