|The Pelican Municipal Code of Ordinances provides for the water utility's policies and procedures, including a collections policy under section 13.02.050. According to Subsection 13.02.050A, the city charges for water services per usage based on meter readings. The city is not currently charging per usage based on meter readings, but with a monthly flat fee. With this exception, the collections policy is being followed in accordance to municipal code. Billings are made monthly and late charges are instituted when necessary. Ultimately, disconnection of service is initiated when accounts are delinquent 90 days, but only after following a stringent billing and notification process. The utility allows for a repayment plan where economic hardship is identified, as allowed by ordinance, and city staff discuss being more lenient during certain times of the year (such as winter), with the understanding that many customers have more income over the summer months, and have demonstrated an ability to pay back over-due bills in full upon commencement of fishing season. Such allowances are loosely permitted under Subsection 13.02.050J 'Deferred Payment Agreements'. The city water utility has a collection rate of approximately 97%, with severe delinquency from only 3-4 customers out of 106 billable customers. These customers are on a re-payment plan based on economic hardship.
The assistant clerk creates monthly statements including charges for all utilities utilized by that customer, such as dock electricity, wastewater, trash, water. This system seems to work best for most customers, though a few customers have specifically requested to be invoiced for each separate utility. The assistant clerk provides invoices as requested. There is not currently a list of customers who have requested invoices, but this has been recommended for consistency and documentation.
The assistant clerk also serves as the utility's accounts receivable clerk. She is experienced with QuickBooks, the accounting system utilized by the utility to keep track of customer accounts and overall finances. The clerk provided RUBA staff with a copy of the utility's chart of accounts, which is clear and categorized based on various account types, such as bank, assets, accounts receivable, equity, income, and expenses. The clerk provided documentation of monthly bank reconciliations. An accounts receivable aging detail summary used by the utility breaks down each customer into their past-due status: current, 1-30 days due, 31-60 days overdue, 61-90 days overdue, and over 90 days overdue. This format allows the clerk to easily identify which customers need relevant notices at the time of billing, and to track delinquent customers. The utility's accounts receivable system also includes a process for accepting cash payments, a safe in which to store all cash and other important documents, and a payment receipt form to provide to all requesting customers. Similar processes are used for the accounts payable system, including an easily-understandable vendor balance detail form. This form can be printed out to ensure all accounts payable invoices have been paid and are up to date. The same QuickBooks file is used to calculate payroll and make payments as appropriate.
The city's procurement policy as outlined in Chapter 3.16 of Pelican's Municipal Code applies to the water utility as well. The city has a purchase order form, which the requesting staff completes and provides to the city clerk. If the purchase is for an amount over $200, the purchase order is approved and signed by the mayor both before and after purchasing. As all purchase orders go through the city clerk, any suspect orders under this amount will also be scrutinized using the same system. Any purchase exceeding $5,000 must receive prior approval by the city council.|