Quarterly Report: 2013, October - December (Q2), Saint Mary's

Community:
Saint Mary's 
Staff:
Fred Broerman  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
First Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of Saint Mary's 
Population:
554  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
2/8/2013 
Community Sanitation Overview:
The City of Saint Mary's is the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta's only first class city and manages the community's piped water and wastewater and solid waste system services for approximately 150 residential and 20 commercial customers. Water is derived from Alstrom Creek reservoir and treated at the city's water plant. Most of the city residents have complete plumbing and are connected to the piped water and wastewater system. Approximately six residence owners haul water and use honeybuckets; the city provides hauling services. Waste heat from the power plant supports the circulating water system. A 1.7 million-gallon wastewater lagoon provides waste treatment. During the summers of 2010 through 2012, the city's water distribution system was upgraded which included replacing water mains, hydrants and service lines. During the winter of 2012/2013, the filtering media of the city's water treatment plant is being renewed and an air scour/ bubbler installed. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Bethel RUBA staff visited Saint Mary's in December to work with the city manager and the bookkeeper/city clerk to create a RUBA compliant monthly financial statement. The city had not been compliant with RUBA financial indicators for approximately two years. Therefore, the city manager requested on-site assistance to create a monthly financial report for the municipality. The report included all expenditures and revenues for all departments, projects and grants for the municipality. The spreadsheet shows the city is operating profitably with a comfortable margin for winter expenses. The creation of the report helped the city become compliant with all RUBA essential indicators. Since September 2010, Saint Mary's billing for its water and wastewater services has been handled by Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium's (ANTHC) Billing Assistance Service. On June 5, 2012 city council passed its first utility rate increase for residential customers since the piped water/wastewater facilities were built in the 1990's. The ordinance sets up a three-year incremental increase schedule that raises rates fifteen dollars per month each year. Currently, about half of the city's water and wastewater utility's expenses are subsidized by the city's gravel enterprise. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Bethel RUBA staff is willing to work with Saint Mary's administrative staff to help the city with non-compliant sustainable indicators.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
26 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
22 of 27
Total Score:
48 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.
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
A copy of Saint Mary's FY13 Budget Ordinance adopted on June 5, 2012 is on file at the Bethel regional office. On June 5, 2012 city council passed its first utility rate increase for residential customers since the piped water/wastewater facilities were built in the 1990's. The ordinance sets up a three year incremental increase schedule that raises rates fifteen dollars per month each year. Currently, about half of the city's water and wastewater utility's expenses are subsidized by the city's gravel enterprise. Therefore, the city's entire budget was reviewed for RUBA compliance and it appears to be balanced and realistic. The city submitted minutes from council meetings held on September 17 and November 14, 2012 for this report. They mention monthly financial reports being reviewed by city council. RUBA staff visited the city from December 16-19, 2012 and assisted the bookkeeper and city manager with creating a RUBA compliant monthly financial statement. The spreadsheet shows the city operating in the black with a very comfortable margin for winter expenses. The city's water and wastewater utility FY13 budget includes a $10,000 appropriation for equipment maintenance and repairs. A December 21, 2012 phone conversation with Alaska Village Electric Cooperative (AVEC) indicated that the city is current on all its accounts. The city purchased bulk fuel from Ruby Marine for FY13. Fuel payments have been made with city funds and the city's account with Ruby Marine is in good standing. The final fall delivery of fuel was on September 28, 2012 and the city manager indicated that the municipality should have an adequate supply for the winter of 2012/2013. Manager reports are documented in council meeting minutes and are provided by the city manager and the utility director.

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.
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 city's collection policy is found within Chapter 2.13 of the city's code of ordinances. A copy of the ordinance is on file at the Bethel regional office. Since September 2010, Saint Mary's billing for water and wastewater services have been handled by Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium's (ANTHC) Billing Assistance Service. Financial summaries from ANTHC indicate that monthly collection rates during (federal) FY12 averaged eighty-five percent. This indicates that the city is enforcing its collection policy. The ANTHC Billing Assistance report verifies the second and third 'Accounting Systems' essential indicators are compliant. The city uses QuickBooks Pro for tracking payroll taxes. A chart of accounts was provided during a December 16-19, 2012 site visit. October and November 2012 bank account statements and QuickBooks reconciliations were provided for the city's general account, however reconciliations statements for two other active city accounts were not. A copy of the city's procurement policy, Chapter 4.05 is on file at the Bethel regional office. Copies of purchase orders were provided during the June 2010 assessment and reflect a pre-approval policy for purchases. The municipality is classified as a first class city by the State of Alaska and therefore hires a CPA firm to complete its annual audits.

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.
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 December 14, 2012 email correspondence from the State of Alaska's Department of Labor indicated that the city is current on its Employment Security contributions and filings through September 30, 2012. Correspondence from the Anchorage IRS Taxpayer Advocate office dated December 21, 2012 indicated there were no federal tax balances or information returns due from the city. Saint Mary's was not listed on the Sept-October 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.
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.
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.
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
The City of St. Mary's 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 December 24, 2012. A 'City of St. Mary's Employee Handbook' adopted in 1996 is on file at the Bethel regional office. Job descriptions for the following positions have been provided: water and sewer/utility director and assistant operator for the water and wastewater services. Copies of City Ordinance Chapter 2.05 and 2.09 stipulating the powers, duties and responsibilities of the city clerk and city manager are on file. A written hiring process was not found in the Employee Handbook or the city's code of ordinances. During a December 16-19, 2012 site visit, the city's personnel files contained federal I-9 forms. However, not all the files contained job applications or letters of acceptance that included wages, benefits, expectations of the employer, classification of job, and date of hire. The city's employee handbook briefly mentions a probationary period for evaluating new employees. Informal interviews with employees during a December 16-19, 2012 visit indicated training opportunities are provided by the city and staff is encouraged to develop and increase their skills.

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
A copy of Saint Mary's Code of Ordinances Chapter 2.13 Division of Freshwater and Wastewater Utilities System is on file. Billings and collections for their water and wastewater services are handled by Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium's (ANTHC's) Billing Assistance Service. Financial summaries from ANTHC indicate that monthly collection rates during (federal) FY12 averaged eighty-five percent. This indicates that the city is enforcing its collection policy. The council meets monthly at which time they receive status reports from the city manager and the water and wastewater operator about the utility's equipment, infrastructure and services. The city manager has a B.A. in Public Administration, training certifications in QuickBooks and MS-Excel. She has held city clerk and bookkeeper positions in two rural Alaska municipalities and has sixteen years of banking experience. The city clerk/treasurer has worked for the city since December 2010, and served as interim city manager from October-December of 2011. He has a B.A. in Rural Development and an Associate's Degree in Applied Accounting, both from UAF. Saint Mary's water treatment facilities are classified by the State of Alaska as a Water Treatment Class 2, Water Distribution Class 2, Wastewater Lagoon and Wastewater Collection Class 1. The city's utilities director has a Bachelor's Degree in Aquatic Resources and an Associate's Degree in Fisheries Technologies and has worked for the city for over eighteen years. He also has the following state certificates: Water Treatment Level 3, Water Distribution Level 2, a Wastewater Treatment Level 1, all expiring on December 31, 2013. He also holds a Wastewater Collection Level 1 Certificate which expires on December 31, 2014. An adopted organization chart for the city government was provided by an interim city manager in May of 2010 which is on file at the Bethel RUBA office. 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 or otherwise stated in their local ordinances.

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 city's utility director provided preventive maintenance schedules/checklists from March and April of 2010 which are on file at the Bethel regional office. Saint Mary's water treatment facilities are classified by the State of Alaska as Water Treatment Class 2, Water Distribution Class 2, Wastewater Lagoon and Wastewater Collection Class 1. The city's utilities director is well qualified; has a Bachelor's Degree in Aquatic Resources and an Associate's Degree in Fisheries Technologies and has worked for the city for eighteen years. He also has the following state certificates: Water Treatment Level 3, Water Distribution Level 2, a Wastewater Treatment Level 1, all expiring on December 31, 2013. He also holds a Wastewater Collection Level 1 Certificate which expires on December 31, 2014. It was not clear whether or not safety meetings are being held. Copies of the city's 2011 Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) and a certification form signed by the utility director on July 10, 2012 indicating the CCR has been posted and distributed in the community are electronically filed at the Bethel regional office. Saint Mary's is not on the October 2012 Significant Non-Complier list.