Quarterly Report: 2011, January - March (Q3), Saint Mary's

Community:
Saint Mary's 
Staff:
Fred Broerman  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
First Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of Saint Mary's 
Population:
549  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
5/4/2011 
Community Sanitation Overview:
The City of Saint Mary's manages local water distribution, wastewater collection, and solid waste system services for approximately 150 residential customers, 20 commercial customers and one institutional customer. The city operates the utility system under a separate enterprise fund that generates revenue through monthly fees. Water is derived from Alstrom Creek reservoir and is treated. Most of the city residents have complete plumbing and are connected to the piped water and sewer system. Waste heat from the power plant supports the circulating water system. A 1.7 million-gallon sewage lagoon provides waste treatment. Approximately six residence owners haul water and use honey buckets; the city provides hauling services. The community is slated for funding for a water system upgrade which will include replacing water mains, hydrants and service lines. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Correspondences were emailed to the city on September 21, 2010, December 21, 2010 and March 25, 2011 requesting documents needed for verification of RUBA essential indicators. At the time of this writing the city has not responded to these requests. Therefore the city is no longer in compliance for several essential indicators until documents needed for verification can be provided. As of September 2010, Saint Mary's billing for its water and sewer services have been handled by Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium's Billing Assistance Service.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Bethel RUBA staff is willing to work with Saint Mary's city manager to help the city with non compliant Essential Indicators.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
21 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
17 of 27
Total Score:
38 of 53

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
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.
No A monthly manager's report is prepared.
No Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
The city's FY11 budget was adopted on July 6, 2010 and it appears to be balanced, detailed and realistic, a copy is on file at the Bethel RUBA office. However, monthly financial reports in an acceptable format have not been provided to the Bethel RUBA office since August and minutes from council meetings documenting council members reviewing the financial reports have not been reported since September 7, 2010. An April 7, 2011 correspondence from Alaska Village Electric Cooperative (AVEC) indicated that the city has past due significant amounts on their electric accounts. The city purchases fuel from Crowley, which has a fuel distribution tank farm located on city property. On October 8, 2010 Saint Mary's city manager indicated that the city has approximately 23,000 gallons of fuel on hand which should be enough for the winter. Bethel RUBA staff contacted Crowley Petroleum Distribution by phone on October 8, 2010. Crowley indicated that Saint Mary's has a significant outstanding balance for fuel delivered on July 17, 2010 and that it will not be extending additional credit to the city until their outstanding balance is paid off. Saint Mary's is expecting payment for gravel deliveries it made during the summer to pay the Crowley fuel bill. The city will also be eligible for Community Revenue Sharing (CRS) and Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) funds once their FY 2009 Audit is complete. The water and wastewater utility is significantly subsidized by the city's rock crushing operation.

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.
No 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
There is a collection policy in the city's code of ordinances. A copy of the ordinance is in the community file located in the Bethel regional office. As of September 2010, Saint Mary's billing for water and wastewater services have been handled by Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium's (ANTHC) Billing Assistance Service. A February 2011 financial summary from ANTHC indicated that the city had a seventy-five percent year-to-date collection rate for FY11. A copy of a customer billing has been provided and is sent out on a monthly basis. Billing statements contain a starting balance, current billing for water, wastewater and garbage collection. Past due sections for current amount due, 30 days, 60 days, 90 days and over 90 days past due are also included in the monthly statement. The city uses QuickBooks Pro for their accounting system and for tracking payroll taxes. A cash receipt journal is used for receiving check and cash payments; transactions are entered into QuickBooks. A copy of the chart of accounts was provided and is actively being used. A copy of their procurement policy, Chapter 4.05 was also submitted and is on file. Copies of purchase orders were provided which reflect a pre-approval requirement for purchases. The city has hired a CPA and an accounting firm to get audits completed for FY 2009 and 2010.

Tax Problems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility has a system to accurately calculate, track, and report payroll tax liabilities.
No The utility is current on filing tax reports.
No 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
An April 1, 2011 email correspondence from a field auditor with the Alaska Department of Labor indicated the city is current through December 31, 2010 on filings and deposits for Employment Security Taxes. The city did not provide Bethel RUBA staff with an Authorization to Request Federal Tax Information so their filings and payments could be verified. The city was not listed on the January-February 2011 Lien Watch: A Review of Small Community Liens.

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.
No The utility has adopted and follows a written personnel evaluation process that ties the job description to the evaluation.
No 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 of St. Mary's is insured by Alaska Municipal League Joint Insurance Association, Inc (AMLJIA). Proof of the workers compensation insurance coverage was verified on the Department of Labor, Worker's Compensation website. A certificate of coverage for the city valid through July 11, 2011 is also on file at the Bethel RUBA office. A 'City of St. Mary's Employee Handbook' was adopted in 1996 and needs to be reviewed and updated. Job descriptions for the following positions were provided: water and sewer utilities operator and assistant operator for the water and sewer services. A copy of City Ordinance Chapter 2.05 stipulating the powers, duties and responsibilities of the city clerk and city manager is on file. The city manager gives informal employee evaluations but not written evaluations. A written hiring process was not found in the Employee Handbook or the city's code of ordinances. The city's personnel files do not contain letters of acceptance; about half the files do not contain applications; and a few files lacked I-9s. The city's employee handbook briefly mentions a probationary period for evaluating new employees. Informal interviews with employees indicated training opportunities are provided by the city and staff are encouraged to develop and increase their skills.

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
A copy of Saint Mary's Code of Ordinances Chapter 2.13 Division of Freshwater and Wastewater Utilities System is on file. Billing for their water and wastewater services are handled by Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium's Billing Assistance Service. A February 2011 financial summary from ANTHC indicated that the city had a seventy-five percent year-to-date collection rate for FY 2011. The council meets monthly at which time they receive status reports from the city manager and the water and wastewater operator about the utility's equipment, infrastructure and services. The city manager was hired in June of 2010 and has 15 years experience working with tribal and city governments and bachelor's degrees in accounting, business administration, and economics. The lead utility worker is well qualified; has a bachelor's degree in aquatic resources and an associate's degree in fisheries technologies and has worked for the city for sixteen years. He also has the following state certificates: Water Treatment Level 3, Water Distribution Level 2, a Wastewater Treatment Level 1, all expiring on December 31, 2013. He also holds a Wastewater Collection Level 1 Certificate which expires on December 31, 2011. A recently adopted organization chart for the city government was provided by the interim city manager. The city council holds regular meetings on the first Tuesday of each month and the meetings are open to the public. The meeting agendas are posted prior to council meetings.

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".
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 utility worker is certified to the level of the city's water and waste system. A sample of the inventory control list and task description for the water and sewer system for 2007 and 2008 was submitted. It was not clear whether or not safety meetings had been held. Saint Mary's is not on the January 2011 Significant Non-Complier list. Copies of the Consumer Confidence Report and critical spare parts list are on file in the Bethel regional office.