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

Community:
Stebbins 
Staff:
Leroy Seppilu  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of Stebbins 
Population:
598  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
8/17/2010 
Community Sanitation Overview:
Major improvements have been funded and planned for many years to provide a piped water and sewer system, with household plumbing. Residents currently haul water and deposit honeybucket waste in bins. During the summer, water is derived from Big Clear Creek and is treated and stored in a 1,000,000-gallon and 500,000-gallon steel water storage tank. There is a central watering point at the washeteria, distributed from the tanks via plastic pipelines. A reservoir is planned in order to alleviate winter water shortages. DEC has approved the landfill for use, although it is not permitted. Refuse is collected by the City from central bins. Electricity is provided by Alaska Village Electric Cooperative. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
At the request of the mayor and city clerk, Nome RUBA staff, Steve Brock and Leroy Seppilu, traveled to Stebbins on May 13 and 14 to perform a RUBA management assessment. The city did not pass the assessment. The essential indicators that were found to be deficient are (1) adopt a balanced realistic budget, (2) monthly financial reports are prepared and submitted to the policy making body, (3) the utility has adopted a collection policy and actively follows it, and (4) the utility customers are billed on a regular basis. RUBA staff reviewed the assessment with the city administrator and recommended that the city work with RUBA staff to pass the essential indicators within the next two months. RUBA will continue to monitor Stebbins and provide assistance to correct the essential indicators. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Nome RUBA staff will work with the Stebbins city administrator to help the city meet the essential indicators it did not pass and to adopt a balanced realistic budget. The FY10 is just about over, the revenues should equal to or be greater than expenditures. The city council should increase some of the utility rates charged for services. The utilities should be able to pay for most or all of the expenses they incur, with the revenues generated by the rates and fees paid by utility customers. Monthly financial reports should include each revenue and expense account and should compare actual year-to-date income and expenditures to the budget. It is recommended to use an Excel Spreadsheet for making comprehensive monthly financial reports. A majority of the utility customers are behind with their bills and the city is not actively seeking to collect the past dues. The city administrator will need to start billing the trash and honey-bucket haul customers once a month for the services provided as specified in the city's utility ordinance. There are very few utility customers current with their haul services bills, because the customers have not been billed for at least a year. The city does not have job descriptions for all utility employees. A sample utility operator job description was provided. The city council should review, modify and adopt the job description, including one for the alternate operator and a job description that identifies who will act as the utility manager. The city administrator acts as a utility manager. The city's personnel policies will need to be revised and updated, including personnel evaluation process that uses forms for evaluation of each employee. A retention system should also be set up and the filing system regularly maintained and updated to keep from cluttering. RUBA staff will work with the city to set up a comprehensive personnel filing system for all its employees. The city employs up to 25 people each year. The city does not have an organizational chart that outlines current structure. The city's insurance provider is Alaska Municipal League Joint Insurance Association. AMLJIA hold quarterly safety teleconferences. The city council should require all city employees, including utility employees, to participate in these teleconferences. RUBA staff will work with the city to meet all the essential and sustainable indicators. The city administrator is a self-starter and learns easily.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
19 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
19 of 27
Total Score:
38 of 54

Finances

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes 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.
No 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.
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
Total utility revenues exceed total utility expenditures by $71,687. The City of Stebbins subsidizes the utilities with gaming revenues and other locally generated revenues. Monthly profit and loss financial reports are made using QuickBooks Pro. The reports do not compare actual income and expenses to the budget. The city purchased fuel oil using funds from Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation's Community Benefits Share Program. The heating oil supply ordered is adequate for one year.

Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No The utility has adopted a collection policy and actively follows it.
No The utility bills customers on a regular basis.
No 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 city has not actively followed its collection policy, although it continues to provide trash and honey bucket haul services. The customers have not been billed for the services for at least a year. The city administrator said she was not billing the trash/honey-bucket haul service customers because the council did not order it. In relation to this issue, a customer requeted a copy of the city's trash/honey-bucket haul service ordinance. RUBA staff recommended the city give him a copy, and added that the city can charge a fee for making a copy. The customer complained that the trash and honey bucket bins were overflowing and causing a health hazard to the children and people.

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.
Yes 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 city keeps current on depositing payroll tax liabilities to IRS and Employment Security Contributions (ESC). All quarterly reports are completed and submitted in a timely manner. The IRS and DOL have deemed the city is compliant at this time.

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.
No 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
The city's insurance and workers compensation coverage is through Alaska Municipal League Joint Insurance Association (AMLJIA). The city uses funds from the Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation's Community Benefits Share program to pay for the coverage. The city administrator is setting up comprehensive personnel files. She has been working on that since she was hired.

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
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 acts as the utility board. The utility operator's certifications have expired and he will need to be recertified. The city administrator has previous experience as a tribal administrator and is familiar with most of her duties. The policy making body is not enforcing the billing policy.

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
The utility operator is working toward renewing his sanitation certificates that expired a few years ago. The city is still on the Significant Non-Complier list for a Stage 1 violation and for SWTR.