Quarterly Report: 2013, January - March (Q3), Grayling

Community:
Grayling 
Staff:
Fred Broerman  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of Grayling 
Population:
164  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
4/22/2013 
Community Sanitation Overview:
Water is derived from an infiltration gallery at Grayling Creek, treated, stored and piped throughout the community. The city's piped water and wastewater system provides service for 48 residential and three commercial customers as well as the community's school. Grayling was a charter member of Alaska Rural Utility Collaborative (ARUC) but their membership was terminated on June 30, 2009. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
The city has hired a consultant from Fairbanks to draft its FY13 budget and FY11 Certified Financial Statement (CFS). Bethel staff has reminded the consultant and the city's clerks in phone conversations and in emails (January 8, 22, 26, February 22 and March 11, 2013) about the importance of preparing the budget, CFS and Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) resolution and seeing they are adopted by council so the city can receive its FY13 Community Revenue Sharing ($149,064) and PILT ($44,059) payments, as well as for RUBA compliance. In the email correspondences Bethel staff provided the forms that need to be completed to receive the funds. Bethel staff also sent the consultant a copy of the FY13 multi-month financial report, created during a January 7-11, 2013 visit to the community, which would help her in drafting the FY13 Budget. During the January visit, Bethel RUBA staff assisted the city's administrative staff in getting the Assisted Billing agreement finalized with Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC), which had been approved by council on November 6, 2012. The city's water and wastewater customers received their first bill from ANTHC Assisted Billing program in early February 2013. While working on-site with the city clerk, there was some confusion about billing statements for water testing services received from Analytica ($2,800) and the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation (YKHC, $400). City staff assumed that the city was being billed for duplicate testing services. It was explained to city staff that only monthly coliform samples are sent to YKHC because of the 48-hour window of having samples processed. However, the remainder of water chemistry testing necessary for completing the city's Consumer Confidence Report (which is required to be distributed to all customers annually) has to be done by a private lab such Analytica. Bethel staff reminded city staff about the importance of the water operators keeping up with scheduled water sampling regimes which helps to prevent the city's water plant from being included on the EPA's Significant Non-Complier (SNC) list. Bills from both Analytica and YKHC should be paid as billed and samples requested from both labs submitted. During the last week in January 2013, Turnagain Press (RUBA contracted QuickBooks Helpline consultants) worked with city staff in setting up the city's payroll and accounts payable. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Bethel regional office staff will be encouraging Grayling's city clerks and council members to begin submitting documents necessary for RUBA compliance to the Bethel regional office on a quarterly basis.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
12 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
6 of 26
Total Score:
18 of 53

Finances

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No All revenues and expenses for the utility are listed in the utility budget.
No The utility has adopted a balanced realistic budget.
No 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.
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.
N/A Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
The city has not yet adopted a FY13 budget ordinance. A monthly financial report compliant with RUBA financial indicators was created for the city when Bethel staff worked with the city's clerks during the January 7-11 site visit. Bethel staff explained to the clerks the benefits of preparing monthly financial reports and presenting them at city council meetings. The clerks were told that keeping up with the monthly financial reports would: 1) keep council members informed how city expenses and revenues were tracking with the annual budget; 2) make drafting each year's annual budget easier; 3) facilitate completing Certified Financial Statements at the end of each fiscal year; and 4) be reviewed for RUBA compliance. Compliance for the RUBA 'Monthly financial reports' essential indicator requires a 3-6 month history of minutes from city council meetings which document council members reviewing and approving monthly financial reports. Both the minutes and the reports need to be submitted quarterly to the Bethel regional office. A March 19, 2013 email correspondence from personnel at Alaska Village Electric Cooperative (AVEC) indicated that the city is current on paying its electric accounts. Phone calls to the city and Hee-Yea-Lingde Corporation on January 23 and February 12, 2013 indicated that the city did not fill-up their 7,300 gallon bulk fuel tank during fall 2012 deliveries made by Ruby Marine. Only 3,000 gallons of heating fuel was purchased for the winter of 2012/2013. Therefore, the city's operators are now purchasing heating fuel (about 50 gallons a day) from Hee-Yea-Lingde Corporation at the retail price of $5.00 per gallon to run water plant boilers, instead of Ruby Marine's wholesale price of around $3.10 per gallon for bulk purchases. The corporation indicated it has enough fuel to sell to the city for its winter heating oil needs. Because the city has not yet adopted a FY13 budget, several essential and sustainable indicators for the 'Finances' section of the RUBA assessment could not be evaluated and were marked 'No'.

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.
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.
Yes 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
The City of Grayling has not provided the Bethel RUBA office a copy of the utility's collection policy. As of February 2013, Grayling's billing for water and wastewater services is being handled by Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium's (ANTHC) Billing Assistance Service. Therefore, the second, third, fourth and fifth essential indicators of this section are marked 'Yes'. During the last week in January 2013, RUBA contracted QuickBooks Helpline consultants worked with city staff in setting up the city's payroll and accounts payable. During a January 7-11 visit to the city office, Bethel RUBA staff assisted the city's clerks with reconciling 'City Fund' and 'Water and Sewer' checking accounts for December 2012.

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.
No 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 March 20, 2013 email correspondence from the State of Alaska, Department of Labor's Anchorage Employment Security Tax office indicated the city was compliant with employment security tax requirements through December 31, 2012. However, the city did not fill out and submit an Authorization to Request Federal Tax Information form to the Bethel RUBA office that was emailed to them on March 11, 2013. Therefore, it could not be determined if the city is current on its federal tax filings and payments for 2009 through the third quarter of 2012. Therefore due to the unknown status of the tribe's federal taxes, two of the 'Tax Problems' essential indicators were marked 'No'. However, the city was not listed on the January-February 2013 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
A March 9, 2013 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. Both city clerks attended RUBA sponsored Utility Clerk training from September 10-14 and one of the clerks attended the RUBA sponsored Introduction to QuickBooks training September 26-28. Water plant operators are given opportunity to attend trainings for State of Alaska sanitation facility certifications. Adequate information about other aspects of the city's personnel system have not been provided to the Bethel regional office. Therefore, several sustainable indicators for the 'Personnel System' section of the RUBA assessment could not be evaluated and were marked 'No'.

Organizational Management

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No 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.
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.
No The policy making body meets as required.
No The utility complies with the open meeting act for all meetings.
Organizational Management Comments
The City of Grayling's Code of Ordinances, dated June 2002, does not contain a water or wastewater department section. The Alaska Certified Water/Wastewater Operator Database recognizes Grayling's water treatment plant as a 'Small Water System/Treated' facility. An April 9, 2013 query of the database found none of the city's four operators certified to the level of the water plant. Other documents and information regarding the city's organizational management have not been provided. Therefore, the essential and sustainable indicators for the 'Organizational Management' section of the RUBA assessment could not be evaluated and were marked 'No'.

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.
No 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.
No 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.
No The utility maintains an inventory control list.
Yes The utility maintains a critical spare parts list.
Operation of Utility Comments
A copy of the Operation and Maintenance Manual for Grayling's Water Treatment Plant, dated July 2003, is electronically filed at the Bethel regional office. It contains a preventive maintenance plan, a safety section and a critical spare parts list. The Alaska Certified Water/Wastewater Operator Database recognizes Grayling's water treatment plant as a 'Small Water System/Treated' facility. An April 9, 2013 query of the database found none of the city's four operators certified to the level of the water plant. The city is not on the January 2013 SNC list. A copy of the city's 2011 Consumer Confidence Report is electronically filed at the Bethel RUBA office along with a certification form signed by the mayor on October 1, 2012 indicating the report was distributed and posted in the community. Other operational information for the city has not been provided. Therefore, several sustainable indicators for the 'Operation of the Utility' section of the RUBA assessment could not be evaluated and were marked 'No'.