Quarterly Report: 2014, October - December (Q2), White Mountain

Community:
White Mountain 
Staff:
Leroy Seppilu  
DCRA Regional Office:
Nome 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
Yes 
Agreement Date:
6/15/2010 
Entity:
City of White Mountain 
Population:
199 (2012 DCCED certified estimate) 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Completed 
Assessment Date:
10/16/2013 
Exp Date:
10/16/2015 
Last Updated:
1/7/2014 
Community Sanitation Overview:
Water is derived from a well near the Fish River and is treated. All households and facilities are connected to the piped water and wastewater system. The school was completed in August 2009 and is connected to the city's water and wastewater system. The city has requested funding to relocate the landfill; the current site is not permitted. The city is waiting for the village corporation to transfer the 1280 acres that will become the city's land. Until this transfer is completed, the location of a new landfill site cannot be determined.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
On October 22-25, Nome RUBA staff traveled to White Mountain at the city's request to perform a RUBA Assessment. The city successfully met all essential indicators. The utilities clerk keeps meticulous financial records. Quickbooks is used by the city to keep financial, employee, tax reports, records and transactions. Nome RUBA staff traveled again to the community with a RUBA-sponsored QuickBooks contractor on November 14, 2013, to provide advanced QuickBooks training to the White Mountain utility clerk. The one-time three day training was successfully completed for the utility clerk and her alternate. A RUBA approved monthly financial report format was introduced and is now being implemented by the utility clerk. Among other things, the invoicing, bank balances, etc. were corrected. Following the training city staff sent a thank you to the RUBA program manager stating that 'There were issues with my QuickBooks file that I knew needed correction but I didn't feel capable to address them. The contractor was able to help me with those issues and identify and correct other items that I didn't know were recorded or done incorrectly. My staff and I found ourselves cheering whenever something was fixed in our file. I presented a summary of the contractor's trip to the city council and they were very appreciative of the training and assistance. Thank you for scheduling the contractor and RUBA staff's trip.'  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff will continue to work with the city council and administration to update and revision of the city's code of ordinances, including the water and wastewater ordinance. The city council wants a generic code and not make any major changes except for reformatting the ordinances. The update and revision of the code of ordinance have not happened yet but RUBA staff will be working with the city clerk and utilities clerk to update them in the next Quarter. The utilities department has been nominated to have a RUBA-sponsored contractor provide a one-time on-site Quickbooks training in November, 2013. RUBA staff will continue to work with the city council and utilities clerk to attempt to collect the water and wastewater past due accounts from customers.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
26 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
27 of 27
Total Score:
53 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.
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
The White Mountain City Council passed a comprehensive utility budget, along with the city budget, on June 24, 2013. The city subsidizes the water and wastewater utility with funds from Norton Sound Economic Development’s Community Benefits Share Program, which is reflected in their budget. During FY13, the department’s revenues totaled at least $120,000 and the expenditures totaled $147,510. The year-to-date from October, 2013 figures show revenues at $43,928 and expenditures at $33,053. This fiscal year, the YTD revenues collected are at least $10,000 more than the expenditures so far. The utility is in the process of implementing a new RUBA approved monthly financial report that was recently introduced by the RUBA QuickBooks contractor. In addition to the monthly financial reports, the utility clerk makes regular monthly reports on other water and wastewater issues. The utility clerk has made a shaded gray area in her monthly financial reports to indicate to the city council that if a budget figure goes much more or less than what was budgeted. This helps the council to decide whether or not to amend the budget. The city owns the electric utility and charges the water and wastewater utility for electricity. Last fiscal year, the utility paid about $25,000 for electric consumption. The utility ordered at least 90,000 gallons for use for all of the city’s departments, including the water and wastewater utility. The diesel fuel was delivered mid-August, 2013. The utility’s share cost for the diesel fuel was $32,500.

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 water and wastewater utility ordinance is complete and meets the needs of properly running the water and wastewater utility. The collection policies are included in the ordinance. The utility clerk has taken most of the past due accounts to small claims court and is expecting the court to make judgment in the city’s favor. Once the judgment is made, the utility clerk expects to have the utility do the paperwork to garnish the past due customers’ Permanent Fund Dividends (PFD) checks. The utility has at least 68 residential customers who are billed $105 a month. There are 21 commercial customers who are charged $105 a month. The school district is charged $47,000 a month. All the customers are billed regularly on a monthly basis as required by the water and wastewater utility ordinance. The utility clerk exclusively uses QuickBooks for all the utility’s accounting, including keeping track of customer billing accounts and past dues and amounts, utility bills, payroll calculations and payroll records. All expenses are recorded in the utility’s checking accounts and petty cash account. A chart of accounts is set up using budget line items. Bank reconciliations completed regularly. The utility clerk makes sure that all purchases are approved by the mayor and all purchases are within the utility’s budget. If the expenses incurred are not in the budget, the requests for purchases are noted in the request to issue a check before approval by the mayor. The utility received a one-time, on-site QuickBooks training by a RUBA sponsored consultant in November 2013.

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.
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
The utility clerk exclusively uses QuickBooks to calculate, track and make reports of payroll tax liabilities. Tax payments are made using Electronic Federal Tax Payment System. A tax authorization was submitted to the IRS to confirm compliance with the Federal tax. The utility is also current with quarterly Employment Security Contribution (ESC) reports and payments.

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 city has workers’ compensation coverage with Alaska Municipal League Joint Insurance Association (AMLJIA) and is valid to July 1, 2014. The utility uses the city’s personnel policies and procedures ordinance including personnel evaluations that are done annually. The utility has excellent written job descriptions for all its positions. As required by the personnel policies, the city council, acting as the utility board, posts notices of positions that are vacant. The notice of hire is posted for at least two weeks. Interviews are made by the city council. The utility clerk, who keeps employee records, has an excellent employee file system. The utility clerk provides orientation, job trainings and evaluations for new employees or has an experienced employee provide the training, depending on the position and job description. All employees are given the opportunity to attend workshops or training that are either sponsored by RUBA or other organizations.

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
By ordinance, the city council acts as the utility board for the water and wastewater department. The city council has the water and wastewater department on its regular monthly meeting agenda. The utility clerk makes comprehensive and detailed monthly reports. Recently, the city council told the utility clerk to take the water and wastewater past due customers to small claims court. RUBA staff has noted that filings were made and several past due customers’ names have appeared on the regional newspaper in the small claims court section. The utility clerk acts as the utility manager and also does the bookkeeping. She has successfully attended numerous RUBA sponsored training and has earned high grades for her efforts. The utility has a comprehensive and complete organizational chart and is updated often and as needed. The utility board meets on a regular monthly basis and also holds special meetings as needed to discuss water and wastewater utility issues. The utility clerk posts utility board meetings in at least three or more public places. All meetings are open to the public.

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
The alternate operator has a Water Distribution Provisional certification and the main operator is working toward his certification. The utility clerk has Provisional Water Distribution and Provisional Water Treatment certificates. The utility has preventative maintenance plan for the sanitation facilities and the operators work closely with the Norton Sound Health Corporation’s Remote Maintenance Worker to upkeep with the preventative maintenance plan. As the utility clerk is certified and is familiar with operation and maintenance of the utility, she is able to make sure that the operators keep up with spot checks on the facilities. The employees of the utility attend AMLJIA’s monthly safety meetings via teleconferences. Most employees are required to attend the teleconferences. The utility has not suffered any major problems or outages due to management issues. The utility is up-to-date with Consumer Confidence Reports and work with NSHC’s Office of Environmental Health (OEH) to complete the annual CCR report. The utility is currently not on the SNC list. The utility works with the RMW to maintain and inventory control list and a critical spare parts list. As needed, the utility has an account with ANTHC to order spare and critical spare parts.