Quarterly Report: 2009, July - September (Q1), Alakanuk

Community:
Alakanuk 
Staff:
Hazel Keezer  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of Alakanuk 
Population:
681  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
11/17/2008 
Community Sanitation Overview:
The City of Alakanuk operates the piped water and sewer system, the central watering point, flush tank and haul system, and washeteria/sauna service. The city council is the policy making body for the utility. There are 135 utility customers hooked up to the system. Water is derived from the slough, treated, stored in a tank, and piped to most of the community. New facilities include a water treatment plant, heated 300,000-gallon water storage tank, vacuum sewage plant, sewage lagoon, arctic piping and household plumbing. The new subdivision has been completed with all homes connected to the piped system.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
The City of Alakanuk currently does not meet all RUBA essential management indicators. The city has been without a clerk and bookkeeper. The city's administrator is filling in for those positions until they can be filled. This has effected the city's ability to meet all essential indicators. Other activities involved Nome staff. They had accompanied the Rural Affairs Advisor, Department of Transportation and Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development to the community of Alakanuk. The purpose of the trip was to conduct a town hall meeting regarding Stage II of the Alakanuk Airport Relocation Project. Discussions were about the project and the need for local hire and training.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff will monitor the utility and provide assistance when requested.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
20 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
23 of 27
Total Score:
43 of 54

Finances

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No All revenues and expenses for the utility are listed in the utility budget.
No 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.
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.
No 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.
No Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
The budget for FY09 has not been adopted. The FY 09 water and sewer was the only detailed budget form completed. Monthly financial reports are current only to May 2008. The city is current on paying all water/wastewater bills to Alaska Village Electric Cooperative. A fuel purchase of 8,000 gallons made recently and an additional 10,000 gallons of fuel in the city holding tanks is reportedly adequate for the winter. The monthly manager's report is given verbally to the council.

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.
No 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 city utility ordinance was effective as of March of 2008. The grace period is 45 days for utility bills. An accounts payable system is not currently in place due to a vacant bookkeeper position. A manual ledger is being used for accounts receivable to track utility payments.

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 IRS deemed the taxpayer in compliance currently with federal employment tax deposits and reports; however, there is a Notice of Federal Tax Lien filed for 2004 2nd qtr and 2007 4th qtr.

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 of Alakanuk has a posted worker's compensation insurance policy from Umialik Insurance Company for the period of February 12, 2008 through February 12, 2009. This insurance policy covers utility staff and city workers. Job openings are posted in at least three public places. The probationary period is three months of the date of appointment. The administrator provides on the job training for new employees and other training is given if funding is available. The city has an adopted personnel policy which was originally reviewed by Commerce. RUBA staff will work with the city to review it and suggest revisions as new employee/employer laws have changed. All staff are at-will hire. On-site training is initially provided when hired with travel and off-site training allowed and encouraged as funding permits.

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.
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
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 of Alakanuk is known to manage the utility. The city council meets regularly once a month. The bookkeeper position has been vacant and the position had not been advertised during the time of this assessment. The administrator is currently filling the duties of the bookkeeper. The administrator has held his position for 16 months and has received utility management, block grant, and QuickBooks training. The water operator has Water Distribution 1 and Water Treatment 1 certifications.

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".
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 City of Alakanuk currently operates a Water Treatment 2 system, a Water Distribution 2 system, and a Wastewater Collection 1 system. They have three part-time operators who are all working toward varying degrees of certification. The lead operator was an operator for 24+ years but allowed his certification to lapse. He will retake the test in Bethel in October. The Alakanuk system is on the Significant Non-Compliance list for Stage 1 and Surface Water violations.