Quarterly Report: 2009, April - June (Q4), Selawik

Community:
Selawik 
Staff:
Margaret Hansen  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of Selawik 
Population:
828  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
8/10/2009 
Community Sanitation Overview:
The community has piped water and sewer throughout the entire community; 96% of the homes are fully plumbed. Water plant upgrades and the river pump system are being evaluated now for possible future projects. DEC has been in Selawik to do a comprehensive evaluation of the water quality, which will be helpful in determining what changes need to be implemented.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Kotzebue RUBA staff maintained contact with Selawik via phone and fax this quarter. The City signed an agreement with the Alaska Rural Utilities Cooperative (ARUC)for billing assistance. Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) and ARUC plan to travel to Selawik the last week of July to finalize a work plan for this summer to complete any necessary fixes to the system and water plant. They believe that an additional $200,00 will be needed to fix glycol leaks and other problems before winter. RUBA staff referred them to Northwest Inupiat Housing Authority (NIHA) for assistance as they spend a considerable amount of money to keep a water/wastewater main for their 20 unit apartment building from freezing due to the current operational problems. RUAB staff also discussed ways of working with families who have been chronically late with utility payments. RUBA received word that Alaska Village Electric Cooperative (AVEC) sent a disconnect notice for all utility connections to city owned facilities for non-payment. The city did not have a repayment plan. RUBA requested that AVEC send a Deferred Payment Agreement (DPA) to the City. The agreement called for a large amount paid by June 15 and the remainder of the amount paid in full by Spetember. AVEC will also require that all non-essential services, including heat tape accounts, be disconnect immediately. If the DFA is not met, all services will be disconnected without notice. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA may be able to fit a trip into Selawik sometime in September to check on their progress.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
21 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
19 of 27
Total Score:
40 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.
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.
Yes A monthly manager's report is prepared.
Yes Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
The amended adopted realistic budget did list all the revenues and expenses for the year which they review monthly in a financial report submitted to the council. Although they had accumulated a high electric bill they made a payment plan with AVEC to pay it off this year. Although they do have adequate fuel to supply their needs this winter, they have agreed to use ARUC to do the billing assistance and will provide the project with the fuel needs in order to repair the water plant and leaking glycol lines before winter. Currently they are not receiving enough funds to cover their expenses nor repair/replacement costs and their revenues are less than their expenses as reported by the administrator/bookkeeper in the report to the council.

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.
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.
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
RUBA believes that once ARUC takes over the billing assistance, they will have to follow their collection policy working with the city council. Because they have had costs overruns, they have not been able to compare proposed purchases to budgeted amounts. The bookkeeper uses QuickBooks for all accounting needs, which she reconciles monthly and uses the budget as the chart of accounts to identify all revenues and expenses on an Excel monthly report in comparison to the budget. The utility has a purchasing system that requires approval prior to purchase but went way over budget to save their water/wastewater system.

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
Although they are current with tax reports, they have had no funds to make the deposits for the first two quarters in 2009. According to IRS, their account is waiting to be assigned to start the lien process.

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 workmen's compensation coverage until June 30, 2009 that is posted in the city office. They are waiting for the new coverage which they have made a payment plan. The city has not had any turnover in personnel so all personnel folders are still current with written job descriptions. The city still utilizes the approved Alaska Municipal League policies that provides a written evaluation process, including probationary period. ARUC will work with the plant operators to attend training as needed.

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.
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
Although the city council adopted ordinances necessary to give it authority to operate, they have not been enforcing the collections policy therefore, have signed an agreement to have ARUC provide them with the billing assistance program. This city has had no turnover with the city administrator, clerk, bookkeeper and operator who have been working for over five years. The city has adopted an organizational chart that reflects the current structure and meets as required, complying with the Open Meetings Act.

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.
No Utility facilities have not suffered any major problems/outages due to management issues that are unresolved.
No 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
The operator is certified for wastewater treatment OIT, collection OIT, water distribution 1, water treatment 2 until 2011. Although the city has a preventative maintenance plan in place, not following it may be the cause of the financial problems they are having now. They still need to have the alternate operator attend the training to become certified as well which I am sure ARUC will do. As part of the agreement with ARUC, they will work with the city to meet these sustainable indicators they are not meeting now. The system has been on the SNC list because it needs new hardware to resolve the violations. This will require installation of a new recorder that records higher values. A new water treatment plant is in the early stages of design but insufficient funding has stopped progress for now. Inadequate operator attention combined with lack of automation and inadequate treatment capacity have resulted in the majority of the treated water quality problems.