RUBA Community Status Report

Community Name: Pilot Point


Community:

Pilot Point

RUBA:

Yes

Staff:

Barbara Higgins

Agreement:

Yes

DCA Region:

Anchorage

Agreement Date:

10/7/2010

Region:

Alaska Peninsula

Exp Date:

10/7/2012

Govt Type(s):

2nd Class City

Borough:

Lake & Peninsula Borough

Assessment Date:

4/1/2013

Population:

88

Active Community:

Yes

Date Updated:

10/8/2013


Community Sanitation Overview:

The city of Pilot Point is located on the Northern Coast of the Alaska Peninsula, on the east shore of Ugashik Bay. The population is 68. The community uses individual wells, cisterns, wastewater tanks and outhouses. There is no central water or wastewater system, but all occupied homes have complete plumbing. The city provides wastewater pumping services and maintains a wastewater lagoon. Over half of the homes are used only seasonally. Wind turbines supplement the community's electrical supply and there is a project in progress to put more on line. The city received a permit to obtain water through the Department of Natural Resources that developed water for use at the health clinic and the duplex associated with the clinic. The City of Pilot Point operates a Class III Municipal Solid Waste Landfill under Solid Waste Disposal Permits No. SW3A077-15, which expires April, 2015.

RUBA Status
and Activities
this Quarter:

In July, Dillingham RUBA staff traveled to Pilot Point to provide on-site assistance. The city manager recently resigned, projects are at a standstill, and city staff is having difficulty keeping up with grant reporting and grant requirements. RUBA staff attended a council meeting and presented a monthly financial report. Staff also assisted the city clerk with ordinances and resolutions regarding the sale of fuel to the electric utility, rate increases for city services, which include the water utility, and proactive measures to reduce electrical demand. The city recently completed a project that drilled three new wells and upgraded four wastewater systems. The city is seeking funds to upgrade the wastewater lagoon; this was a project the city manager was working on. RUBA staff is assisting the city clerk with tracking and monitoring spending as its fiscal year comes to a close. Due to a poor fishing season, the city is receiving significantly less than had been anticipated in the budget. In August, RUBA staff was requested to provide assistance with the hiring process for the city manager's position. Once a city manager is hired work on seeking funds to upgrade the wastewater lagoon as well as other project can resume. RUBA staff recommended using resources at Alaska Municipal League (AML) to do a background check. RUBA staff also recommended inviting the candidate out to the community for a couple of days to get a feel for what the community was about. The city contacted the AML seeking advice and assistance. They have also invited a candidate out to visit the community.

 

Capacity Indicator: Finances

Essential Indicators:

No

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.

N/A

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:

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.

Comment:

The community has not submitted a FY14 budget to the State of Alaska, Community Aid and Accountability Section. User fees are charged and could be identified and tracked separately from other revenue in the accounting system. The wastewater revenue is listed separate from other sources of revenues on the budget but was not given a monetary value. Historically, wastewater revenues are insufficient and a subsidy is required. The utility uses fish tax revenue to subsidize utility revenues. Due to not currently having a city manager, the utility has not prepared a monthly financial report that compares year-to-date revenues and year-to-date expenditures to annual budgeted amounts. . The utility does not use fuel other than gas for the wastewater pumping. The city has an adequate supply on hand (47,000 gallons). The city has a current State of Alaska Bulk Fuel Loan. A June 2013 delivery by the fuel barge was made and will be sufficient until spring. The collection rate of the utility is not sufficient for revenues to cover expenses; the utility is subsidized by other utility services and fish tax. Repair and Replacement items are not listed on a schedule that shows the item's useful life.

 

Capacity Indicator: Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators:

No

The utility has adopted a collection policy and actively follows it.

N/A

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.

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.

Comment:

Collection policy and procedures have been adopted. The collection policy includes a statement of action that will be taken if past due amounts are not received. The utility does not actively follow the policy. The utility does not bill monthly as the service is not a monthly service, however bills are sent according to the ordinance they have adopted. The utility uses QuickBooks 2012. The system shows all customer balances and past due amounts and all vendors that money is owed. Long term or past due amounts are identified and are reported. The customer balances are under review for accuracy back to 2009. The payroll system correctly calculates payroll and keeps records. The data is correctly calculated and stored in a format that is used to generate the necessary reports. A cash receipt system is in place that records incoming money and how it was spent. A receipt book is utilized along with entries into the QuickBooks file. All payments are made by check. Every check includes an amount, an expense account, and a description of the payment. The date for every check written is recorded in the check register in QuickBooks. A copy of paid invoices is kept in the vendor file. A chart of accounts is used that identifies categories in a reasonable, usable manner. The chart of accounts lists categories of revenues and expenditures; all of the utility's financial transactions are placed in one of these categories. Monthly bank reconciliations for the utility are current through August 2013. The utility has a purchasing system that requires approval prior to purchase from the manager and purchases over the manager's limit requires council approval. There is a system in place that is checked to ensure that adequate funds are budgeted and remaining in the budget prior to purchase of an item.

 

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:

The utility uses QuickBooks 2012 to accurately calculate, track, and report payroll tax liabilities. A report from the Department of Labor and the IRS on September 18, 2013, shows the taxpayer has been deemed compliant with state and federal tax filing requirements. There is no record or notice of Federal tax liens against the tax payer according to the lastest Lien Watch (June 2013).

 

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.

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.

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:

The utility has posted the workers compensation insurance policy in the city office in plain view. The Alaska Municipal League is the provider and the policy is in effect July 2013 to July 2014. According to the Notice of Insurance, worker's compensation insurance is provided by the Alaska Municipal League. A September 19, 2013 check of the Division of Worker's Compensation website confirmed that the policy was in effect. A copy of the utility's personnel policies is on file with RUBA staff. Job descriptions are not up to date for all positions. The city council does not have a written evaluation process. The hiring process is described in the utility's personnel policies adopted December 2008. Personnel folders are current and available for all employees. The probationary period or introductory period for new hires is at least ninety (90) days, as described in the personnel policy. New hires are evaluated at the end of the probationary period. The utility budget includes an appropriation of $4,720 for staff 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.

No

The policy making body enforces utility policy.

N/A

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 utility ordinance identifies the city as the operator of the utility. Council meeting minutes confirmed that the council reviews policies and rates on an annual basis and makes changes as needed. Meeting minutes for the past three months were submitted. The manager's position this quarter became vacant which caused monthly reports to the governing body to not occur. The bookkeeper is trained and has attended the RUBA QuickBooks class and the RUBA Clerks Management of Rural Utilities training and has held her position for three years. The utility is a septic pumping service of wastewater only. Water in homes is supplied by private wells. The city has an organizational chart that is updated as needed. A copy of the organizational chart is on file with RUBA staff. Regular council meetings are held once a month; special meetings are held as needed. All required meetings for the current quarter have been held as scheduled. The meeting files and minutes were submitted from June through August that verifies all meetings are open to the public as required by the Open Meetings Act.

 

Capacity Indicator: Operation of Utility

Essential Indicators:

N/A

The utility operator(s) are actively working towards necessary certification.

No

The utility has a preventative maintenance plan developed for the existing sanitation facilities.

Sustainable Indicators:

N/A

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.

N/A

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.

N/A

The operator provides status reports to the manager on a routine basis.

N/A

The utility has completed and distributed its "Consumer Confidence Report".

N/A

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.

Comment:

Credit is given for the utility having a operator that is working towards necessary certification however, according to the ADEC website, Pilot Point does not have a system that requires a certified operator. The maintenance plan is not written but it is part of the staff mechanic's job to keep city equipment in working order. The utility operates a wastewater lagoon and wastewater pumping service. Pumping occurs approximately once in every three years for most residents. Credit is given for the manager receiving a monthly Operation and Maintenance report due to this is not a monthly service. When services are requested and provided a verbal report is provided to the manager. There is a safety manual and the operator actively participates in the Alaska Municipal League Joint Insurance Association (AMLJIA) safety meetings. Credit not is given for the Consumer Confidence Report as it is not a requirement for this type of service. Credit is also not given for the Significant Non-Compliance list as it is not relative to this type of service. The utility does not have a inventory control list or a critical spare parts list for its septic pumper.

RUBA Activities for the Coming Quarter:

Based on the assessment, a work plan has been developed to deal with utility management deficiencies. The work plan is an effort to bring the community up to an acceptable management performance standard. The council has a signed RUBA agreement that outlines the services this division is providing and the actions the city is taking.