Quarterly Report: 2014, October - December (Q2), Grayling

Community:
Grayling 
Staff:
Fred Broerman  
DCRA Regional Office:
Bethel 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of Grayling 
Population:
164 (2012 DCCED certified estimate) 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Completed 
Assessment Date:
1/10/2007 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
1/3/2014 
Community Sanitation Overview:
Water is derived from an infiltration gallery at Grayling Creek, treated, stored and piped throughout the community. The city's piped water and wastewater system provides service for 48 residential and three commercial customers as well as the community's school. Grayling was a charter member of Alaska Rural Utility Collaborative (ARUC) but their membership was terminated on June 30, 2009. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
From October 29-31, 2013, Bethel regional office staff and the RUBA contracted QuickBooks consultants staff visited the community of Grayling to provide financial training and accounting assistance to the city's two clerks. The city's bank accounts had not been reconciled since May 2013, payroll taxes had not been paid for two quarters, and an FY14 budget had not been adopted. The RUBA QuickBooks contractor worked with the clerks on the reconciliations and getting payroll tax payments up to date. Bethel RUBA staff created a RUBA compliant monthly financial report spreadsheet which included a draft a FY14 budget. All the city's revenues and expenditures for FY14 recorded in the city's QuickBooks file were entered into the budget/multi-month financial report spreadsheet. This resulted in finding many classification and category entry errors in the city's QuickBooks file. These were changed and charged to the correct accounts. On December 31, 2013 the Bethel regional office received, by mail, Grayling's FY14 budget and accompanying ordinance, a monthly financial report spreadsheet updated through November 2013, city bank statements and reconciliations for the October and November 2013, and meeting minutes for August, September, October and November 2013. This was the first time documents such as these have been submitted by the City of Grayling to the Bethel RUBA office for RUBA compliance in four years. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Bethel regional office staff will continue to encourage Grayling's city clerks and council members to begin submitting documents necessary for RUBA compliance to the Bethel regional office on a quarterly basis.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
15 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
8 of 26
Total Score:
23 of 52

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.
No 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.
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
A copy of Grayling's FY14 Operating Budget and accompanying ordinance adopted on November 19, 2013 is on file at the Bethel regional office and it appears to be balanced and realistic. City council meeting minutes were provided for August, September, October and November 2013. A FY14 multi-month financial report spreadsheet was also provided containing financial information through November 2013. The October and November meeting minutes note city council reviewing and approving monthly financial reports. However, the budgeted amounts in the monthly financial statement do not match those in the city's adopted budget. Therefore, monthly financial report does not accurately track the city finances and cannot be used with any certainty by city council members. Due to the problems with the monthly financial reports the sixth essential indicator and second and third sustainable indicators of the Finances section are marked 'No'. Bethel RUBA staff contacted the city clerk on January 2, 2014 to notify her about the discrepencies between the FY14 budgeted amounts and those in the multi-month financial report. A January 2, 2014 phone call to Alaska Village Electric Cooperative (AVEC) indicated that the city has a balance 30 days past due balance on their water plant facility account. A December 19, 2013 phone contact was made with Grayling's city clerk and and personnel at HYL Fuel (the community's fuel retailer). Both parties indicated the 6,600 gallons of heating fuel in the water plant's fuel storage tanks should be an adequate supply for the winter of 2013/2014.

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.
No 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.
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
The City of Grayling has not provided the Bethel RUBA office a copy of the utility's collection policy. As of February 2013, Grayling's billing for water and wastewater services is being handled by Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium's (ANTHC) Billing Assistance Service. Financial summaries from ANTHC indicate that the city’s collection rates for November 2013 were 58 percent. Therefore, the first essential indicator of this section is marked 'No'. During the October 29-31, 2013 RUBA on-site visit the city's chart of accounts was streamlined, the payroll system was brought up to date. October and November 2013 bank statements and accompanying reconciliations were provided by the city for this report. The city does not yet have an accounts payable system set up or a written purchase approval plan.

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.
No 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 17, 2013 email correspondence from the State of Alaska, Department of Labor's Anchorage Employment Security Tax office indicated the city has a balance due for the third quarter of 2013. On January 2, 2014, Bethel staff emailed the city informing them about the State of Alaska tax balance. An IRS correspondence dated December 30, 2013 indicated that the city has past due payroll tax obligations from July 2013. Therefore, one of the 'Tax Problems' essential indicators was marked 'No'. The city is not listed on the September-October 2013 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
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
A December 18, 2013 query done on the Department of Labor's Worker's Compensation employer database indicates that the city has workers' compensation insurance for its employees through Alaska Municipal League Joint Insurance Association. Both city clerks attended RUBA sponsored Utility Clerk training from September 10-14, 2013 and one of the clerks attended the RUBA sponsored Introduction to QuickBooks training September 26-28 and a RUBA sponsored Planning training held December 9-13 2013 . Water plant operators are given opportunity to attend trainings for State of Alaska sanitation facility certifications. Adequate information about other aspects of the city's personnel system have not been provided to the Bethel regional office. Therefore, several sustainable indicators for the 'Personnel System' section of the RUBA assessment could not be evaluated and were marked 'No'.

Organizational Management

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No 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.
No 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 City of Grayling's Code of Ordinances, dated June 2002, does not contain a water or wastewater department section. As of February 2013, Grayling's billing for water and wastewater services is being handled by Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium's (ANTHC) Billing Assistance Service. Financial summaries from ANTHC indicate that the city’s collection rates for November 2013 were 58 percent. This low percentage reflects the city not having a utility policy in place. The lead city clerk is adequately trained to handle the city's bookkeeping and managerial needs. Both city clerks attended RUBA sponsored Utility Clerk training from September 10-14, 2013 and one of the clerks attended the RUBA sponsored Introduction to QuickBooks training September 26-28 and a RUBA sponsored Planning training held December 9-13 2013. The Alaska Certified Water/Wastewater Operator Database recognizes Grayling's water treatment plant as a 'Small Water System/Treated' facility. A December 18, 2013 query of the state's database found none of the city's three operators certified to the level of the water plant. The city council attempts to meet at least monthly pursuant to Alaska Title 29 and public notification of meetings and the manner in which they are conducted is in accordance with Alaska's Open Meeting Act or otherwise stated in local ordinances.

Operation of Utility

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No 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.
No 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.
No 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.
Yes The utility maintains a critical spare parts list.
Operation of Utility Comments
A copy of the Operation and Maintenance Manual for Grayling's Water Treatment Plant, dated July 2003, is electronically filed at the Bethel regional office. It contains a preventive maintenance plan, a safety section and a critical spare parts list. The Alaska Certified Water/Wastewater Operator Database recognizes Grayling's water treatment plant as a 'Small Water System/Treated' facility. A December 18, 2013 query of the database found none of the city's three operators certified to the level of the water plant. The city is on the October 2013 SNC list. Graylings water treatment facility’s 2012 Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) and accompanying certification form indicating the CCR has been posted and distributed in the community was signed by the mayor on June 27, 2013. Both forms are electronically filed at the Bethel Regional Office. Other operational information for the city has not been provided. Therefore, several sustainable indicators for the 'Operation of the Utility' section of the RUBA assessment could not be evaluated and were marked 'No'.