Quarterly Report: 2013, April - June (Q4), Mekoryuk

Community:
Mekoryuk 
Staff:
Fred Broerman  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of Mekoryuk 
Population:
191  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
7/24/2013 
Community Sanitation Overview:
The City of Mekoryuk has a population of about 215 and manages the water treatment plant and washeteria. In the 1970s, the community had an underground piped water system installed that failed due to winter freeze ups. Later, the city received an early version of the Cowater Flush Tank and Haul? water and wastewater systems which is still being used in ninety-six homes and eleven commercial establishments. Homes do not have washers and less than half city residences have working baths or showers. Therefore, the washeteria is used by nearly all city residents. The city has a nine million gallon lined reservoir, a hundred and twenty-five thousand gallon water storage tank, and a 4.2 acre wastewater lagoon. The Lower Kuskokwim School District has its own well but uses the city's wastewater lagoon. The city would like to be considered for funding for a piped water and wastewater system. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Bethel RUBA staff visited Mekoryuk from February 19-22, 2013, to work with city staff on non-compliant RUBA indicators. A RUBA assessment for the city's water and wastewater utility was completed on August 7, 2012. Since the assessment, Bethel RUBA staff found that the numbers listed for the budgeted FY13 amounts in the monthly financial report did not match those in the city's FY13 budget ordinance. Also, a one page QuickBooks profit and loss statement was presented to city council as a monthly financial report during a February 2013 council meeting which does not provide budget information to meet the essential indicator standard. Therefore, most of the February visit was devoted to updating budgeted amounts in the monthly financial report to more closely match those of the FY13 budget adopted in June 2012. A mid-year review of ependitures and revenues was completed working with the city administrator and clerk to verify monthly expenditures and revenues for each department, catch double entries, question line-item anomalies, compare year-to-date expenditures to revenues for each department, and do the same for the entire city budget as a whole. The 'mid-year' review resulted in seeing the need to prepare an updated budget for the council to review and consider as an amendment to the FY13 budget. RUBA staff attended a council meeting held at 1 p.m. on February 22. During the meeting, RUBA staff explained the draft amended FY13 budget, and took the opportunity to highlight significant changes prior to a vote on its introduction. The draft amended budget spreadsheet included columns for revenues and expenditures for each month of the year (current through January), as well as year-to-date, and remaining balance amounts. RUBA staff stated that profit and loss statements were not adequate for compliance with RUBA financial indicators, and a detailed report, like they were reviewing, is what they should expect each month from the administrative staff in the future.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Bethel staff will be working with the municipality's administrative staff to bring the city's RUBA essential and sustainable indicators into compliance.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
25 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
18 of 27
Total Score:
43 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.
Yes Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
A copy of the City of Mekoryuk's FY 2013 Budget Appropriations Ordinance adopted on July 29, 2012 is on file at the Bethel regional office and it appears to be balanced and realistic. A copy of a budget amendment adopted on March 11, 2013 is also on file at the Bethel regional office. Minutes from council meetings held on December 10, January 7, and February 5, 2013 were provided for this report. All three sets of minutes mention monthly financial reports from the previous month being reviewed by city council. On March 22, the Bethel RUBA office received a monthly financial report from the city that was up to date through February 2013. An April 8, 2013, phone conversation with Alaska Village Electric Cooperative (AVEC) indicated that the city current on its electric accounts. On August 13, 2012, the administrator indicated the city received a 20,000 gallon delivery of heating fuel on July 11 and would have enough heating fuel on hand to cover the city's needs for the winter of 2012/2013. The city's FY13 budget does not have a repair and replacement line item for the water and sewer department. Manager reports were included in the meeting minutes.

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
An electronic copy of 'City of Mekoryuk Water and Sewer Utilities Credit and Collection Policy and Procedures' adopted on November 11, 2009 is on file at the Bethel regional office. A more recent ordinance '2012-03 Mekoryuk Washeteria Increase' adopted on June 18, 2012 establishes new rates for washeteria services. According to the administrator the city has established an unwritten policy that if a residential account for water and wastewater services has a balance over $79.30 (the cost of two water or wastewater hauls) the city will not provide the next water or waste haul until the balance is paid down by $39.65 or $32.50 for seniors. However, the accounts aging report provided by the city on March 15, 2013, has significant outstanding balances for 30 and 60 days past due. Therefore, the first essential indicator of this section 'The utility has adopted a collection policy and actively follows it' was marked 'No'. When cash is received for utility payments, the customer receives a receipt and the transaction is entered into QuickBooks. A chart of accounts was provided by the city administrator on July 24, 2012. A check request is required when an employee needs to purchase parts, supplies and equipment. The city provided the Bethel regional office with verification that its general checking account had been reconciled on February 28, 2013. An undated city document titled 'Purchasing Procedures' is on file at the Bethel regional office.

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
An April 1, 2013 fax correspondence from IRS Taxpayer Advocate indicates the city is compliant with federal tax payments and reporting requirements from 2009 through the third quarter of 2012. A March 20, 2013 email correspondence from Alaska Department of Labor's Anchorage office indicates that the City of Mekoryuk is compliant filing its Employment Security Tax payments and reports through September 30, 2012. The city is not listed on the January-February 2013 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
No 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.
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.
No 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
On November 30, 2012, the city emailed the Bethel RUBA regional office verification that it has workers' compensation insurance for its employees through October 18, 2013 with Alaska National Insurance Company. A copy of City of Mekoryuk Utility Policies and Procedures (the city's personnel policy) revised on August 10, 2009 is electronically filed at the Bethel regional office. However, RUBA staff has not been provided documentation that the personnel policy has been adopted by city council. On November 29, Bethel staff sent the city's clerk a reminder that the city needed to provide verification that their personnel policy has been adopted. Until Bethel regional office is provided with verification that the city's personnel policy has been adopted by city council most of the sustainable indicators in this section will be marked 'No'. Written job descriptions for the city administrator, bookkeeper, and washeteria supervisor were provided on July 24, 2012. But job descriptions for the maintenance supervisor, assistant and alternate operators and the washeteria attendants were not provided. Therefore, the sustainable indicator of this section which states: 'The utility has adequate written job descriptions for all positions' is marked 'No'. Not including city council members, the city of Mekoryuk has about 12 employees. On June 18, 2012, Bethel RUBA staff reviewed three of the city's employee personnel files. None of the three folders had the employee's application or a letter of acceptance and one of them did not have an I-9. For RUBA compliance all personnel files should contain the employee's application file, letter of acceptance (that includes the wages, benefits, expectations of the employer, classification of job, and date of hire) and a completed federal I-9 form. The city has sent its administrative staff to several RUBA sponsored trainings during the last two years.

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.
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
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 Bethel regional office has an unsigned copy of the City of Mekoryuk's Flush Tank Haul and Water Haul Tank System Ordinance 94.04 on file. The city needs to provide the Bethel regional office verification that the ordinance has been adopted. A more recent ordinance '2012-03 Mekoryuk Washeteria Increase' adopted on June 18, 2012 establishes new rates for washeteria services. According to the administrator the city has established an unwritten policy that if a residential account for water and wastewater services has a balance over $79.30 (the cost of two water or wastewater hauls) the city will not provide the next water or waste haul until the balance is paid down by $39.65 or $32.50 for seniors. However, the accounts aging report provided by the city on March 15, 2013, has significant outstanding balances for 30 and 60 days past due. Therefore, the third essential indicator of this section 'The policy making body enforces utility policy ' was marked 'No'. The city's water treatment plant is classified as a Water Treatment Class I facility. The water plant operator will need to pass the Water Distribution and Water Treatment provisional certificates and accrue on-the-job training hours before his is certified to the level of the city's water plant. On August 30, 2012, city council adopted by resolution an updated organization chart for the municipality which is electronically filed at the Bethel regional office. City council attempts to meet at least monthly pursuant to Alaska Title 29. Public notification of meetings and the manner in which they are conducted are in accordance with Alaska's Open Meeting Act or otherwise stated in local ordinances.

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 water plant operator has a Small Water System Treated Certificate. The city's water treatment plant is classified as a Water Treatment Class I facility. The water plant operator will need to pass the Water Treatment provisional certificate and accrue on-the-job training hours before he is certified to the level of the city's water plant. A Draft Operation and Maintenance (OM) Manual dated March 2012 is electronically filed at the Bethel regional office. The OM Manual contains a preventative maintenance plan and a critical spare parts list. An FY 2009-2010 Water and Sewer Inventory Control List is on file at the Bethel regional office. A more recent version should be submitted. The water operator reports to the city administrator on daily facility operations. A copy of the city's 2011 Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) is electronically filed at the Bethel RUBA office along with a certification form signed by the water plant supervisor on July 13, 2012 indicating the CCR was distributed and posted in the community. The city's water reservoir is on the January 2013 Significant Non-Complier (SNC) list due to turbidity issues.