Quarterly Report: 2010, April - June (Q4), Noorvik

Community:
Noorvik 
Staff:
Margaret Hansen  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of Noorvik 
Population:
600  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
8/17/2010 
Community Sanitation Overview:
Water is pumped from the Kobuk River to the water treatment/utility building, and stored in a tank. From there, a pressurized circulating system distributes water in utilidors. Groundwater wells have proven unsuccessful. Noorvik has a vacuum sewer system in which waste is carried by air instead of water. Vacuum pressure pumps the sewage to the 60,000-gal. collection and treatment plant. The system requires special toilets and water valves which collect wastewater from the sinks, toilets and showers. Over 100 homes, the schools and businesses are served. Funds have been requested to connect and plumb the remaining 16 unserved homes on the south side of town and along River Road. A new landfill and access road is under development. Funds have also been requested to construct a multi-purpose facility, including a new washeteria, recreation center, Head Start, day care center, a restaurant, Native Crafts production and a food processing plant. The community is interested in using wind energy.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Kotzebue staff received phone calls from the previous administrator at home at night when she was having difficulty at council meetings. Next thing I knew she was gone without notice. The current Mayor was the acting administrator and now the previous clerk acting. Kotzebue RUBA was to travel to Noorvik but due to turnover, decided to wait to train the new person. Noorvik received alot of assistance from the QuickBooks hotline due to alot of turnover in bookkeepers trying to figure out how much back payroll taxers were owed. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff plans to travel back to Noorvik this fall as soon as a new administrator is hired to provide financial management training.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
19 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
16 of 27
Total Score:
35 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.
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.
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.
No Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
They have recently passed a realistic balanced budget where all revenues and expenses for the utility are listed. Although they are current in paying their electric bills, they are not receiving enough revenues to cover operating expenses. They still owe Alaska Energy Authority $69,825 for last years fuel loan but have a plan to pay that off with their revenue sharing and has a financial plan to purchase more this fall. This city does not have a reserve fund for repair and replacement costs except for small emergencies. Kotzebue RUBA has been unable to receive any updated monthly financial reports to know if revenues are equal to those budgeted nor that expenditures or below those budgeted so do not know if a monthly manager report is prepared or whether or not amendments are needed.

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.
No 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
Even though they have had turnover, they are billing customers on a regular basis following their collection policy. They are utilizing QuickBooks now with an accounts receivable system in place to track customers accounts. Quickbooks also provides them with an accurate accounts payable system, payroll system to calculate payroll, cash receipts system and a cash disbursements system. They utilize their budget to categorize their chart of accounts in a usable manner. They use a purchasing system that requires approval prior to purchase comparing to budgeted amounts. They still have not been able to keep up with bank reconciliations at this time.

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.
No 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 uses QuickBooks now to accurately calculate, track and report payroll tax liabilities but has a tax lien on file. As of last quarter they were current in making deposits and reporting.

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.
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.
No 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
According to AMLJIA, the City of Noorvik has renewed their insurance with plans to pay it in full with their revenue sharing. This city is still using their old personnel policies that have not been approved by an attorney or AML. The previous administrator has requested samples of AMLJIA in hopes that the council will revise their very old policy. They do have updated job descriptions I have on file. While there I reviewed the personnel folders and found that they follow their evaluation process, has an adequate hiring process, with a probationary period for new hires inlcuding orientation, job training and overssight. They do have I-9 completed forms in their files with their application but no letters 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.
No The policy making body is active in policy making of the utility.
No The policy making body enforces utility policy.
No The utility has an adequately trained manager.
No 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
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 council is the known entity that operates the utility who has not be active in policy making of the utility and enforces it. They have adopted the necessary ordinances to give it authority and follows the adopted organizational chart meeting monthly as required. They have hired an acting administrator who still needs more training on her job duties. The hired another bookkeeper recently who also needs training in quickbooks. They still enjoy their certified operator of three years who continues to attend any training he needs to keep his certification. I have not seen the revised 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
Although they lost their main operator, the alternate had certifications as well who plans to attend the next training session in Kotzebue along with his new alternate. they are doing a very good job of following his preventative maintenance plan keeping up with his inventory and critical spare parts list. He reports to the city administrator on a daily basis who spot checks his work. Has not held any safety meetings this last quarter but has not suffered any major problems that are unresolved. They are operating at the level proposed reporting to the council monthly. They have submitted their CCR but are still on the SNC list.