Quarterly Report: 2010, January - March (Q3), Larsen Bay

Community:
Larsen Bay 
Staff:
Tammy Helms  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of Larsen Bay 
Population:
83  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
5/10/2010 
Community Sanitation Overview:
Water is supplied from two groundwater sources--gravity feed from the hydro plant, and a well as backup, and stored in a 200,000 gallon tank. A water supply line is connected to the penstock of the hydroelectric plant and used a majority of the time to reduce utility expenses to both the service plant and the customer. All 40 homes are connected to the piped water system. A community septic tank with an outfall line serves these homes, and the majority of them are fully plumbed. Weekly refuse collection services are provided. The community incinerator is currently unusable and all refuse is deposited at the landfill site. The city has been funded for a water treatment plant project from Village Safe Water (VSW).  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
On March 24, 2010, Anchorage RUBA staff traveled to the City of Larsen Bay to train the new city clerk. While onsite, RUBA staff provided training on various issues. Some of the significant tasks accomplished were assistance with the completion of the city's quarterly grant reports, the IRS 941 and Department of Labor reports for the city and the city's electric utility company. RUBA staff also worked with the city clerk to review the Power Cost Equalization (PCE) program and assist in completing the February PCE report. The City of Larsen Bay is scheduled to begin construction on their new water treatment plant this spring. RUBA staff will continue to work with the new city clerk to ensure she has the necessary training and resources to maintain the current level of sustainability the City of Larsen Bay demonstrates. RUBA staff also assisted Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) engineer Kelly Larson in calculating the City of Larsen Bay water/wastewater collection rates. The collection rates are required information when applying for several of the funding opportunities. The city had a 91% collection rate for their water/wastewater services in FY09. Due to local staff turnover, RUBA staff also provided assistance in completing the December and January PCE reports. The new utility clerk had no prior experience in completing these reports. Due to the assistance provided by RUBA, the city will receive a reimbursement of $4,661.31 for the two months. These funds are used to subsidize the water utility expenditures as user fees do not fully fund the utility.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
The city council has a signed RUBA assistance agreement. RUBA staff will continue onsite visits quarterly to assist the community to meet all of the unmet management indicators.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
27 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
21 of 27
Total Score:
48 of 54

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.
No Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
The City of Larsen Bay drafted and adopted a FY10 budget with RUBA assistance. RUBA staff trained the city Ccerk and billing clerk in preparing the proper financial reports which are submitted to the council monthly. The interfacility bills are being paid on a quarterly basis to allow accurate tracking of all expenses. The City of Larsen Bay received a large fuel order in November. It will be an adequate supply until mid-summer. Although water and wastewater revenues are not sufficient to cover operating expenses, the City subsidizes its water and wastewater utility service through the electric sales. This subsidy is listed as a line item on the budget. Manager/operator reports are given verbally when requested from the council; however the operator has daily contact with the mayor and/or city clerk.

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
The city has an adopted collection policy and has been actively and consistently enforcing it. The city utilizes QuickBooks for accounts receivable, accounts payable and payroll. The QuickBooks system is set up properly and has been a tool in the past to reliably keep the city's finances in order. Currently bills are going out on a regular basis by the 5th of every month in accordance with the city's billing and collection policy. Monthly bank reconciliations are completed for each bank account then printed and filed for historical data. The city's purchasing system requires prior approval from the mayor or city clerk dependant on the purchase amount. Once approval has been given a purchase order is issued.

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 uses the QuickBooks accounting program to accurately track, calculate and report payroll tax liabilities. Liabilities are submitted monthly and the quarterly reports are completed and mailed to the IRS on time. The city has not received any non-compliance notices from the IRS or DOL.

Personnel System

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility has a posted workers compensation insurance policy in effect.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
No 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 Larsen Bay has a posted workers' compensation insurance policy in effect from 7/1/09 to 7/1/10 with AMLJIA. On December 9, 2008 the city council adopted a personnel policy. The city has contacted AMLJIA to request a review of the personnel policy. RUBA staff will also review the personnel policy and make recommendations. The city's current hiring process is historical and is not written. Job notices are posted with the job title and description for 10 days. Interested applicants apply at the city office. There is currently no probationary period for employees. Training opportunities to staff are provided as funds allow or opportunities by other sponsors come available.

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 of Larsen Bay is known as the entity that owns and operates the utility, and is active in policy making for the utility. The city clerk, with city council backing, has been actively enforcing utility policy. The clerk has attended a QuickBooks training class sponsored by the RUBA program and the current utility operator is trained and has passed the Provisional Level 1 test. The city and billing clerks attended a RUBA class for rural clerks held September 14-18, 2009 in Kodiak.

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.
No 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.
No The utility maintains an inventory control list.
No The utility maintains a critical spare parts list.
Operation of Utility Comments
In speaking with the Remote Maintenance Worker, Steve Evavold of Village Safe Water, there is a preventative maintenance plan for the existing system. The City of Larsen Bay is currently taking part in AMLJIA monthly safety meetings. The current utility operator is trained and can run the system and has passed the Provisional Level 1 test. Historically, the utility operator reports to the mayor, vice-mayor or city clerk when there is a problem or he can foresee one. The utility is not able to operate at the level of service that was proposed due to the inability to backwash the rapid sand filter and the Solo-valve being deemed a cross connection by Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC); however, the city is currently not on the SNC list. The utility operator and council attempt to keep needed critical spare parts on hand but they currently have no actual written list.