Quarterly Report: 2007, October - December (Q2), Larsen Bay

Community:
Larsen Bay 
Staff:
Tammy Helms  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of Larsen Bay 
Population:
97  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
1/23/2007 
Community Sanitation Overview:
Water is supplied from two groundwater sources- gravity feed from the hydro plant, and a well as backup, and stored in a 200,000 gallon tank. A water supply line is connected to the penstock of the hydroelectric plant and used a majority of the time to reduce utility expenses to both the service plant and the customer. All 40 homes are connected to the piped water system. A community septic tank with an outfall line serves these homes, and the majority are fully plumbed. Weekly refuse collection services are provided. The community incinerator is currently unusable and all refuse is deposited at the landfill site. The city is funded for a water treatment plant from VSW.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
RUBA staff conducted one site visit this quarter to continue training the new clerk. The following task were completed during this trip: 1. Corrected QuickBooks balances in the checks in safe box, cash register, and cash box. 2. Completed Municipal Tax Questionnaire. 3. Arrange repair for the office copier. 4. Contacted AML/JIA for information on the safety program that is available through this insurance carrier. 5. Called Bill Rolfzen for confirmation of purpose of Municipal Energy Assistance Program (MEAP) funds. One of the City Council Member misunderstood that the MEAP funds are suppose to be distributed to the members of the community. 6. Contacted DCA Grants Administrator Robin Parks for an update regarding grant information. Larsen Bay was past due on three grant reports. RUBA staff and Clerk completed and mailed the reports. 7. Contacted the bank to activate the City's new debit card. 8. Assisted the City Clerk in updating the City's files. Many of the files were not updated and others contained outdated information or unneeded paperwork.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff will travel to Larsen Bay in January to provide assistance fourth quarter and end of the calendar year tasks.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
22 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
10 of 27
Total Score:
32 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.
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.
Yes 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.
Yes A monthly manager's report is prepared.
No Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
RUBA staff will assist the City Clerk with preparing the proper financial reports so they can be submitted to the Council monthly. Over the last four months the City has purchased ample fuel to supply the community through the busy summer and fall season. In doing this, the city has assumed two large fuel loans and is having difficulty meeting payments. The water and sewer revenues are not sufficient to cover operating expenses. The City subsidizes its water and sewer utility through the fuel and electric sales. Manager/ operator reports are given verbally when requested from the Council.

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.
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
Although the City has an adopted collection policy, it has not been enforced for the last year and a half. A billing clerk was hired in February 2006 and was promoted to City Clerk in July 2006. She has been actively pursuing customers to sign repayment agreements. The City utilizes QuickBooks for accounts receivable, accounts payable and payroll. The QuickBooks system is set up properly and has been a tool in the past to reliably keep the City's finances in order. Unfortunately, from March 2005 until July 2006, the employee responsible for accounting entry failed to enter data or execute the program functions properly, which has lead to the City writing numerous NSF checks. Due to assistance from the RUBA program the new clerk has been properly trained and errors corrected. Starting in January 2005, the City received over $122,000.000 in cash, but had no method of accountability for the cash, until February 2006 when a billing clerk was hired and she began a written paper trail of the cash.

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
Previously, the City was past due with payroll liabiliaties. In July 2006, all reports were submitted and liabilities were paid due to RUBA assistance.

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 Larsen Bay has a posted workers compensation insurance policy in effect from 7/1/06 to 7/1/07 with AML/JIA. The City's current hiring process is historical and is not written. Job notices are posted with the job title and description for 10 days. Interested applicants apply within the City office. There is currently no probationary period for employees. Training opportunities to staff are provided as funds allow or opportunities by other sponsors come available.

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.
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
The current utility operator is trained but has not passed the OIT test. The City was in a period of transition last quarter due to the prior City Clerk having been released from his position in late June because of accounting irregularities. The billing clerk was promoted to City Clerk in July. The City Council is presently not enforcing the collection policy. Efforts to once again enforce the policy are being pursued.

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.
Yes 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.
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.
No The utility maintains an inventory control list.
No The utility maintains a critical spare parts list.
Operation of Utility Comments
In speaking with the Remote Maintenance Worker, Steve Evavold of Village Safe Water, there is a preventative maintenance plan for the existing system. The current utility operator is trained and can run the system but has not passed the OIT test. Historically the utility operator reports to the Mayor or Vice-Mayor when there is a problem or he can foresee one. The utility is not able to operate at the level of service that was proposed due to the inability to backwash the rapid sand filter. The utility does not meet all required drinking water regulations. The City is currently on the SNC list for treatment technique violations and monitoring violations for Stage one and SWTR. The utility operator and Council attempt to keep needed critical spare parts on hand.