RUBA Community Status Report

Community Name: Kobuk


Community:

Kobuk

RUBA:

Yes

Staff:

Margaret Hansen

Agreement:

No

DCA Region:

Kotzebue

Agreement Date:

Region:

Northwest Arctic

Exp Date:

Govt Type(s):

2nd Class City

Borough:

Northwest Arctic Borough

Assessment Date:

1/6/2005

Population:

119

Active Community:

Yes

Date Updated:

10/4/2013


Community Sanitation Overview:

Sanitation utilities in Kobuk are operated and managed by Alaska Rural Utilities Collaborative (ARUC). They have a piped water and wastewater system. A 30 foot well provides water, which is treated and can be hauled by residents from the washeteria. The washeteria is non operable but the watering point is still in operation. Waste is disposed of at the new sewage lagoon. A new landfill was completed. AVEC operates and maintains the electric utility in Kobuk. A new back up generator was funded and installed using Community Development Block Grant funds,(CBDG). ARUC used IHS grant money the summer of 2011 to weatherize the water plant, and to repair a fuel line from the bulk fuel tank to the water plant to minimize operator labor to haul fuel in the winter. They completed an update to the existing sanitation facilities master plan. ANTHC received a grant for $401,873 for Biomass Boiler design and construction to supply heat to the community water treatment plant and water distribution system and alleviate dependence on diesel for heating, thus reducing heating costs. This project is to begin summer of 2014. ARUC is working with NANA to develop a local business within the community to buy wood and store biomass fuel. Washeteria is still shut down.

RUBA Status
and Activities
this Quarter:

Kotzebue staff traveled on site to provide training and assistance to the administrator and new clerk. During the three days on site, staff was able to train and assist in reconciling and completing four months of monthly financial reports, amend the last quarter 941 tax report, review of the election ordinance, time frame and posted the election notice, training on the new fuel dispensing console to get it working once again, and complete the Northwest Arctic Borough revenue sharing application for $22,176.00 to help pay Evert's for last month's fuel purchase. Statewide electric went to Kobuk to upgrade their pump station panel. Days after they left the pump started not working properly, a week later it completely stopped working. Kotzebue staff coordinated with the administrator, Statewide Electric and the borough in hopes to get their technician back out there. As of today, they have not responded. The pump went down on August 9th. The city has no way to provide fuel or diesel to its residents being the only fuel supplier for the community. Kotzebue staff suggested yesterday to see if their is an electrician in town from Bethel Services who is the contractor for the Kobuk School adddition. The pump is working fine now that the staff knows how to trouble shoot shut down issues.

 

Capacity Indicator: Finances

Essential Indicators:

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:

Yes

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.

N/A

Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.

Comment:

In reviewing the ARUC monthly financial reports that are submitted to the council and budget, it shows that all revenues and expenses are listed for the utility as adopted as a balanced realistic budget showing an 94 percent collection rate. The financial report and budget does show that they do have sufficient funds to purchase a year's adequate supply of fuel and are receiving enough revenues to cover operating expenses. The reserve account has grown to $81,403.63 so beleive that adequate funds for major repair and replacement costs are in place. In reviewing the financials, it does show that they are receiving enough revenues to cover their expenses.

 

Capacity Indicator: Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators:

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:

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.

Comment:

ARUC actively follows the collection policy and bills customers on a monthly basis. They do have a system in place to track customers and report past due amounts to the council, a accounts payables and a cash receipt system that records how money was received and spent and receives approval prior to making purchases by making sure that they are budgeted before completing a check request for approval. Bank reconciliations are done before completing their monthly financial report in comparison to the budget which they uses as a chart of accounts.

 

Capacity Indicator: Tax Problems

Essential Indicators:

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.

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.

Comment:

They have a system in place to accurately calculate, track, and report payroll tax liabilities and according to the completed tax authorization form, they are current in filing tax reports and making deposits.

 

Capacity Indicator: Personnel System

Essential Indicators:

Yes

The utility has a posted workers compensation insurance policy in effect.

Sustainable Indicators:

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.

Comment:

Their is a posted workers compensation policy posted in the city office building in effect until July 2014. As for ARUC, their workmen's compensation policy is in effect until October 2014. The city has adopted a policy reviewed by AML and utilizes their assistance when needed for personnel terminations. In these policies they have an adequate written hiring process and keeps their personnel files current with all required paperwork. All job descriptions are on file for all positions and ARUC performs probationary and annual evaluations as scheduled who also provides on site training.

 

Capacity Indicator: Organizational Management

Essential Indicators:

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:

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.

Comment:

The city council has adopted necessary ordinances and knows that ARUC is the entity to oversee the operations of the utility who has been active in following through with their policies, organizational chart, meeting as require following the open meetings act. Kotzebue staff has on file ARUC's organizational chart. ARUC has trained the plant operators who plans on attending the training session in Sitka to become certified this fall. The city staff has budgeted to attend any RUBA classess offered in Kotzebue this fiscal year.

 

Capacity Indicator: Operation of Utility

Essential Indicators:

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:

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".

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.

Comment:

They have had turnover in operators but are working towards getting their certification and follow the written preventative maintenance plan for their existing sanitation facilities. The rehired operator provides a monthly report to the council. The utility manager routinely spot checks the facilities to make sure the maintenance is getting done. Since ARUC came on board they have held safety meetings and no major outages has occured so they are operating at the level they are proposed. They have completed their CCR and are not on the SNC list, they also seem to maintain an inventory and critical spare parts list.

RUBA Activities for the Coming Quarter:

Kotzebue RUBA will travel next quarter to provide on site training and assistance for year end tax reporting.