Quarterly Report: 2006, April - June (Q4), White Mountain

Community:
White Mountain 
Staff:
Leroy Seppilu  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of White Mountain 
Population:
224  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
7/26/2006 
Community Sanitation Overview:
 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
A RUBA Assessment was made right at the end of March, 2006 by Nome RUBA staff. The washeteria has been closed due to it being operated in red for the last several years. Last year, it lost over $13,000 and this year it was projected to lose at least $23,000 due to higher fuel and electricity costs. The White Mountain Utilities, which operates electricity, water and sewer, and cable tv, has account receivables totaling $144,000. At least $44,000 of that is from water/sewer utility past due accounts. The utility clerk had tried to take most of the past due customers to small claims court but after almost a year, the court returned the claims that were filed and recommended to the utilities to redo them. There were too many to file, so the utility clerk, with the approval of the council, decided to send the past due accounts to a bill collection company. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff will work with the city in revising and updating the utility's ordinances along with the city code of ordinances. We will also examine ways to collect the utilities' past due accounts. We will also strengthen the utility ordinances, especially with the collection sections. We will also revise the job descriptions and make a new one for the utility operator. New preventative maintenance plan will be drafted and reviewed. We will try to get the utility out of the SNC list and do an inventory and critical spare parts lists.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
24 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
23 of 27
Total Score:
47 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
Nome RUBA worked with the city and utility clerks to fine tune the city's budget and trained them on how to come up with the figures for the actuals. Several corrections were made and explained. Both have been able to do more accurate budgets. The monthly financial reports for the utilities are done using Excel spreadsheets. Some of the w/s utility bills are absorbed by the city-run electric system. The lift station normally consumes about $1,000 of electricity a month.

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.
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 Utilities' past due accounts for all the services provided are enormous. The total accounts, as of March, 2006, is about $144,000. Some of the past due customers have moved out and may be difficult to collect. RUBA encouraged the council not to forgive the past due accounts no matter the age and jump at any collection opportunities that may come up. The utility clerk is fairly competent with Quickbooks Pro and is self-taught. She uses all aspects and programs of QBP. She does monthly bank reconciliations and has a purchasing system in place.

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 utilities was penalized for not submitting IRS Form 941s for a total of $1,700. The utility clerk claims that she did submit the reports but could not provide any copies to me when I requested to look at them. I recommended to her to find the copies and send them in with original signatures. I believed her because she knew exactly how much to deposit and knew the total for the quarters.

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.
No 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 utilities has a posted notice to employees that it has insurance coverage and workers' compensation at the utility and city offices. The utilities will need to have a job description made for its utility operators. RUBA staff is working with them on it. This utility is one of the better organized ones in this region. The utility clerk was not able to attend the Quickbooks Pro training that was held in Nome recently.

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 acts as the utilities board and meets regularly and actively involved with the utilities policy issues. It does need to be more aggressive with it collection policies. Some are concerned that a few of the council members try to discourage their relitives from being disconnected from their utility services. I was not able to confirm this. The utility clerk is self taught and is very competent with finances. The utility operator is OIT certified with Water Treatment, Wastewater Collection, Wastewater Treatment and Water Distribution and is actively working towards higher lever certifications. The city has utility ordinances for all its utilities, but would like to have RUBA assist them with revising them. RUBA will be coordinating with the city clerk to revise and recodify the whole code of ordinances. The city did have some problems with with the husband of a city employee who wanted the city council meeting minutes right away and to include any discussions about his wife while she was working. We mentioned that we'd try to get the minutes of the meeting out right away as time permits and that it would be entirely impossible to get anyone to say what they discussed about his wife.

Operation of Utility

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility operator(s) are actively working towards necessary certification.
No 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".
No The utility is not on the "Significant Non-Complier" (SNC) list.
No The utility maintains an inventory control list.
No The utility maintains a critical spare parts list.
Operation of Utility Comments
As mentioned earlier, the operator is OIT certified and is working towards higher levels. RUBA staff will work with the utility and RMW to complete a preventative maintenance plan. The utility is on the SNC list as not completing Stage 1: Disinfectants and Disinfection By Products Rule. RMW is working with the utility on this. Nome RUBA staff will work with RUBA to make an inventory control and a critical spare parts lists.