Quarterly Report: 2008, July - September (Q1), Holy Cross

Community:
Holy Cross 
Staff:
Ken Berlin  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of Holy Cross 
Population:
205  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
10/17/2007 
Community Sanitation Overview:
Water is derived from a deep well and is treated. A new backup well, new pump house and water treatment facility have been completed. Seventy-one households and the school are connected to the piped water and sewer system. A number of residents in the community still haul water from the washeteria and use honeybuckets or outhouses. A Master Plan is underway to examine and engineer expansion of the system. Landfill improvements are needed. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
On January 10, 2007 RUBA staff from Anchorage and Bethel met with Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation-Rural Utility Cooperative (YKHC-RUC) staff to complete a re-assessment of management capacity indicators as requested by YKHC-RUC. Holy Cross has signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with RUC transferring maintenance and operations of all water and wastewater services to RUC. Specific documents used in this report may be reviewed in the Bethel regional office. This report pertains to the management of the utility of Holy Cross only. 08/21/07 City Administrator called and said the City increased water and sewer rates from $75 to $80 using a resolution format. I recommended they use the ordinance process to make sure everyone in the village gets a chance to comment on the increase.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Continue to monitor RUC reports and provide assistance as requested.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
27 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
27 of 27
Total Score:
54 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.
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
Monthly finance and budget reports are prepared by RUC as two separate documents and provided to Holy Cross monthly. The financial report shows the 'Monthly' 'Last Month' 'Year to Date' and 'Budget' amounts. Since the initial assessment in June, RUC has adopted a line item for 'Replacement Part Reserve' Most sanitation funding and regulatory agencies recommend utilities account for repair and replacement funds separately. The budget process begins with the RUC Manager and Accountant drafting a budget using the previous years actual and next year's projections. Future projects or plans are considered when making the projections. The budget is submitted for YKHC-RUC board approval. RUC provided a copy of the monthly statement from Alaska Village Electric Cooperative for Holy Cross utility. RUC pays the utility electric statement promptly and completely each month. Fuel for the utilities is purchased bi-annually. The operators in Holy Cross self-report fuel consumption. RUC has instigated fuel use efficiently and accountability practices that have substantially reduced the consumption and expense for fuel.

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.
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
The utility charges flat rates for residential customers. Combined bills for water and sewer ($70/mon) are mailed at the end of each month. Commercial customers are either $100/mon or metered $.10/gallon. Payments of money orders or checks are sent to a lock box at Wells Fargo who sends a list of payments daily to RUC. Payments of check, cash, money order or credit card may be made at the Bethel RUC office. A hand written receipt is issued there. RUC also uses QuickBooks Pro for accounting purposes. Bills are sent at the end of every month. They are considered overdue if unpaid 20 days later. Thirty days after that, the operators are given a list to place pink door hangers alerting the customer that service will be shut off in three days. RUC strictly enforces the three day disconnection for non-payment. Payment plans are offered, however, the manager noted that many non-payment plans are not honored. NSF checks are submitted to a collection agency. Through the MOA, RUC has the authority to change customer rates. The manager and accountant make recommendations to the advisory board who votes support or non-support of the request. A vote of support is sent on to the YKHC Board of Directors for action. The utility has a written purchasing system. An operator places a request to the manager who then submits the request to administration. Administartion checks the budget prior to approval. Approving signatures required for the purchase are based on the amount of the purchase requested. The higher the amount, the more signatures are requested.

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
A signed Tax Information Release Authorization was provided by YKHC-RUC as the utility is an enterprise system included in the YKHC's tax payer EIN. The IRS deemed the taxpayer compliant at this time. The State Department of Labor reports that YKHC is compliant at this time. Paper time sheets are submitted to YKHC who calculates, tracks and reports payroll liabilities. This tax information pertains to the Holy Cross utility only.

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
The utility has a posted worker's compensation insurance policy from Alaska National Insurance Company. The insurance covers all employees of RUC including the operators in Holy Cross. All RUC employees follow the YKHC adopted personnel policy which was reviewed by an attorney. Employees are at-will hire. An evaluation is performed at 90 days and one year from hire. The blank evaluation form is attached to the position description and presented to the employee upon hire. All new hires attend a coporate orientation for 2 1/2 days in Bethel for instruction regarding company policies, procedures and department specific orientation. On-site training is also provided. Job openings are posted, with job titles and duties, in the village for at least a week if the manager deems expediency necessary. Native and local hire are encouraged when possible. Applications are submitted to YKHC who completes the background and reference checks. The personnel policy also allows for temporary hires for short term projects. Training opportunities are provided to staff when money allows. YKHC, Office of Environmental Health operates the training program and presents four water/sewer related classes per year. The Remote Maintenance Worker also presents CEU training modules on site.

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
Holy Cross has signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with YKHC-RUC to operate the utility. YKHC-RUC has an advisory board that meets three times a year to recommend policy and procedures via letters of support to the YKHC Board of Directors. The YKHC Board of Directors has the authority to set rates, ordinances, policies and procedures for the Holy Cross utility. The RUC Manager is also very diligent in personally attending city council meetings to report on the utility. Four certified operators live in Holy cross. Matthew Burkett and James Wade are certified as Water Distribution OIT and Water Treatment OIt. David Walker ii certified for Water Distribution 1. Bruce Werba holds certification for Water Treatment 1, Wastewater Treatment 1, Water Distribution 1 and Wastewater Collection 1. The system has received a certificate of public convenience from the Regulatory Commission of Alaska.

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.
Yes 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
Copies of operator certification and preventative maintenance plan were sumitted and are available at the Bethel Regional Office. Safety training is provided in conjunction with regularly scheduled operations training. The Holy Cross utility has not suffered any major problems/outages due to management issues. YKHC-RUC hires summer interns to complete the CCR reports. An additional assignment was to complete inventory control and critical spare parts lists. The utility has a large amount of inventory and critical spare parts on hand and have not suffered any loss of service due to lack of parts. With the stable work force and frequent Remote Maintenance Worker on site support, maintenance requirements are minimal.