Quarterly Report: 2011, April - June (Q4), Ambler

Community:
Ambler 
Staff:
Margaret Hansen  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of Ambler 
Population:
278  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
8/3/2011 
Community Sanitation Overview:
The main source of water for the community is a 167' well near the Kobuk River. Water is pumped 940 feet to the treatment facility and stored in a 210,000-gallon insulated tank, then piped to most homes. An 80' standby well is also located at the water treatment plant. Sewage is collected via six and eight inch arctic pipes and flows to a facultative lagoon through two lift stations where it discharges to a natural watershed, then the Kobuk River. Currently, 53 homes are served by the piped water and sewer system. The washeteria project is still incomplete since no new funding has been secured. The new lift station and lagoon was operational in January. This new construction has made operations much easier. A new water treatment plant, with waste heat from AVEC will be constructed this summer using Indian Health Service grant funds to also repair 8 homes water service lines, and 2 failed manholes. Water shutoffs for nonpaying customers will occur this summer when the copper service lines won't freeze. The city office building/washeteria will also be connected with wasteheat. The Ambler City Council have turned over the water plant operations to Alaska Rural Utilities Collabrative (ARUC)starting August 1st, 2010. Construction is started on the new water teatment plant with waste heat to the water plant and city building. We will also replace two manholes and up to 8 water service lines this summer.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
On May 4, 2011, Kotzebue LGS staff traveled to Ambler to provide onsite training and assistance to the new city clerk and city administrator on budgeting, qualifying for the Community Revenue Sharing program and their election ordinance. LGS staff assisted with completing bank reconciliations, certified financial report for year ending 6/30/10, and a draft budget. LGS staff also met with the council to provide training on how to read financial reports, estimating the price per gallon based on recent purchase of fuel and how much they are spending on their Village Police Officer (VPO) program. The city is spending significantly more on the VPO program than is received in a grant from the Northwest Arctic Borough which funds the program. LGS staff recommended a cut back after showing the payroll breakdown of what costs are associated with the gross payroll of the program. LGS staff will continue to work with the city as requested. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Staff will continue to work with the administrator in locating funds to complete their washeteria. One avenue was to budget for an sales tax audit of the tribe who collects the tax but has not paid it to the city for the last 10 years. The council passed the budget, RUBA staff will work with her on an Request For Proposal to hire a qualified Certified Public Accountant to perform the audit this fall.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
26 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
25 of 26
Total Score:
51 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.
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
No 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.
N/A Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
The ARUC realistic balanced utility budget does list all revenues and expenses for the utility. In reviewing the monthly financial reports that they submit, it shows that they have been paying their water/wastewater electric bills every month and has the finances to purchase fuel needed. Although they are receiving enough revenues to cover operating expenses, they still do not have sufficient sources to cover major repair and replacement costs.

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
ARUC bills customers on a monthly basis actively following the adopted collection policy. They utilize an accounting system that tracks customers which reports past due amounts, an accounts payable system, payroll system that correctly calculates payroll and keeps payroll records. Their system records all incoming money and how it was spent using a cash disbursement 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.
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
According to the completed tax authorization reports from IRS and the Department of Labor, they have no known debt so they are current on filing and depositing tax and reports using their utility system that accurately calculates, track and report payroll tax liabilities..

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
ARUC and The city has paid in full workers compensation insurance which they posted showing which will remain in effect until October 2011 as verified by AML/JIA. They city has an adopted personnel policy which has been reviewed by AMl which provides a written personnel evaluation process that ties into their adequately written job descriptions. The city follows an adequate written hiring process and has a probationary period for new hires that includes orientation, job training oversite and evaluations. ARUC provides training opportunities to employees on site and any training the Department of Environmental Conservation puts on through Maniilaq Association. The City does send in their staff to all RUBA training classes offered by RUBA. This year the administrator attended the RUBA quickbooks and personnel management class and the City Clerk attended the Utility Clerk class here in Kotzebue.

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
The City Council knows and enforces policy in order to effectively run their utility complying with the open meetings act meeting monthly. They work with ARUC and support them with all their decisions. They have adopted an organizational chart that reflects their current structure showing that the adequately trained administrator who oversees all staff of the oranization following the ordinances necessary that they adopted to give it the authority. The administrator of two years has been adequately trained who is also the bookkeeper. She attends all the RUBA classes Kotzebue provides. The operator is still not certified but plans on attending all training offered in Kotzebue.

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 two operators will continue to attend any and all trainings offered here in the region. The Remote Maintenance Worker continues to train and assist on site. They do follow the preventative maintenance plan which helps them from suffering any major problems so it is operating at the level proposed and maintains an inventory control lists and critical spare parts list. They have distributed their completed Consumer Confidence Report. They have held safety meetings and the manager receives a monthly report from the operators and routinely spot checks the facilities to see that the maintenance are being completed. They are no longer on the SNC list.