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

Community:
Buckland 
Staff:
Margaret Hansen  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of Buckland 
Population:
457  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
5/4/2011 
Community Sanitation Overview:
The water supply used by the City is taken from the Buckland River. It is treated with filtration and chlorination and stored in a central community storage tank. The water is then hauled to some homes by means of a light truck and small tanks. The residents are charged for this service. The community has a central washeteria, which is a combination laundromat, toilet and shower facility and provides a watering point for residents who haul their own water. The City met with VSW who coordinated the hiring of a project management firm to oversee all phases of the water/sewer project and recently a new Superintendant. The sewage lagoon project started last summer which was completed; currently, the sewer pipes have been installed from the washeteria to the sewer lagoon. This summer the first phase of the piped water/sewer system to 22 homes, clinic, store and school will be completed. The council passed a resolution saying that they would do inhouse plumbing to homes only if residents are caught up with their landfill, trash and sewer bills.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Provided assistance to the acting administrator on their year end tax reporting and gave him a report about the RUBA assessment and the criteria that needs to be met in order to stay in compliance. Called and met the new administrator over the phone. He already is asking for training so I scheduled to do just that in April. He has no quickbooks experience so I forwarded the training information for the one our department is having in Juneau in April but he did not apply. At this time I also provided him information regarding the Community Revenue Sharing requirements so this would be the ideal time to provide him training with his first budget.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff has been requested to travel to Buckland next week to provide training and assistance in order to pass their RUBA assessment.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
23 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
18 of 26
Total Score:
41 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.
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.
No 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
Although the city did pass and adopted a balanced realistic budget listing all the revenues and expenses for the utility, Kotzebue RUBA has not received any monthly financial reports or minutes nor has the staff provided any financials to the council due to turnover and new staff not knowing the quickbooks system to retrieve the information. Kotzebue RUBA did contact the electric utility who stated they are current in paying their utility bills but am unsure, without monthly financial reports, if they still have a financial plan to purchase needed fuel nor if they are receiving revenues to cover expenses. Without being able to review their financials, it is unknown if they are receiving enough revenues to cover repair and replacement cost or that they are that their revenues and expenses are at a level budgeted. Due to staff illness and turnover, no monthly manager's report had been prepared.

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.
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
Although the city has adopted a collection policy, with all the turnover, it is unknown if they are actively following it. In talking with the new clerk, they have been billing the customers and receiving payments with a 75% collection rate so far for the month of March. She has provided Kotzebue RUBA with a profit and loss statement showing the revenue received. They still utilize quickbooks which has an accounts payable, payroll and cash disbursement systems that correctly calculates payroll, records incoming money and how it was spent including a purchasing system. Before purchases are made, they check the budget (which is their chart of accounts) but had no recent monthly reconciled financial report to review before approving those expenditures.

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 city has no past due liabilities at this time which shows that by using quickbooks they accurately calculate, track, deposit and report payroll tax liabilities timely.

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
Their new insurance is paid in full and in effect until next June 2011, they now are insured by Alaska Public Entity Insurance who has verified they are paid in full. The city has an adopted personnel policy which they update as needed having an attorney review. They continue to use their job descriptions to use when evaluating staff per written personnel evaluation process allowing staff to grow by providing training opportunities as needed. They use the hiring process in their policies. When a new employee is hired they provide job orientations, and oversight especially during the probationary period to assure a smooth transition making sure their personnel file contains all the necessary documentation such as a completed I-9 form, job application and 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.
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 council is the known entity that operates the utility meeting monthly in order to actively follow and enforce their utility policies and ordinances to give it authority who complies with the open meetings act. The Buckland City Council passed an amended water/sewer ordinance last week of December giving it authority to operate their new piped system. They have a very trainined manager who is the city administrator doing most of the bookkeeper duties who employs a city clerk to help do the payroll and cash receipts. The utility has an adopted organizational chart that reflects the current structure.

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
Kotzebue staff contacted the administrator to advise her to contact Department of Environmental Conservation to let them know that the only operator showing certified for Buckland is Erik Weber who is working for the Buckland water System. He holds provisional certicates for water distribution and treatment. He works along side the long time operator who has not been able to become recertified this year but they follow the preventative maintenance plan for existing facilities which the administrator oversee by spot checking facilities to make sure that maintenance items are being completed. The utility is operating at the level proposed therefore not suffering any major problems or outages. The operator provides reports to the administrator and council on a routine basis who also maintains an inventory and critical spare parts list. The city has distributed their Consumer confidence report but is still on the SNC list because they still need treatment plant updgrad to address TTHM/RAA MCL and needs to continue to post public notice for this.