RUBA Community Status Report

Community Name: McGrath


Community:

McGrath

RUBA:

Yes

Staff:

Glen Hamburg

Agreement:

No

DCA Region:

Anchorage

Agreement Date:

Region:

Interior

Exp Date:

Govt Type(s):

2nd Class City

Borough:

Unorganized

Assessment Date:

2/19/2013

Population:

315

Active Community:

Yes

Date Updated:

11/27/2013


Community Sanitation Overview:

McGrath operates a piped water system that serves nearly all 178 households; a few homes have individual wells or haul water. The FAA operates its own water system. The majority of residents use individual wastewater tanks; a limited city wastewater system serves approximately 34 homes. Funds have been requested to expand the piped wastewater system to the 144 houses and businesses currently using wastewater tanks. McGrath is poised to begin substantial upgrades of its water treatment plant. Design and engineering phases of this project are complete. Erosion control is a critical issue, as the water treatment facility is located next to the river. The cost of moving the facility would triple the costs of the upgrade. The city has applied for funding to complete their erosion control project, ensuring the integrity of the water treatment facility.

RUBA Status
and Activities
this Quarter:

On September 20, McGrath City Administrator Natalie Baumgartner contacted RUBA staff requesting accounting assistance. The City of McGrath must complete a single audit before the end of the year and needs technical assistance on various aspects of Quickbooks. RUBA staff will schedule an on-site visit for this quarter.

 

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:

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.

Comment:

According to the FY14 budget, the city has budgeted $230,000 in revenue and $228,310 in expenditures. There is, however, no line item for repair and replacement. The council receives monthly financial reports for the water utility. A manager's report is prepared monthly for the council. Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.

 

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:

The utility has adopted a collections policy which is described in the McGrath Code of Ordinances 13.04.440. The city provided RUBA staff with a sample water utility bill. Customers are billed on a regular basis. The city uses QuickBooks Pro 2012 to track all financial transactions of the utility and other city finances, including accounts payable and payroll. The city maintains a comprehensive and organized chart of accounts that address appropriate line items. Purchases for the utility are discussed between the administrator and lead operator to confirm the purchase is necessary and also to identify if funds are available in the budget. Decisions outside of budgetary line items are made based on the determination of necessity and available general funds.

 

Capacity Indicator: Tax Problems

Essential Indicators:

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.

Comment:

A signed authorization to request federal tax authorization was sent to the Taxpayer Advocate Service on September 25. On October 17, the IRS reported the City of McGrath owed taxes for the third quarter of 2012 and the second quarter of 2013 and had not filed the first quarter report for 2013. According to the Department of Labor on September 23, McGrath had not made its 2013 second quarterly payment, and was therefore not granted clearance. McGrath is not listed in the April 2013 lien watch report.

 

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:

The city has purchased a Workers Compensation policy through Alaska Municipal League Joint Insurance Association (AMLJIA) and was current as of September 19. RUBA staff was provided with copies of the utility's personnel policies and job descriptions. The City of McGrath has an employee handbook that has a hiring and evaluation process, reference to personnel folders, a 90-day probationary period for all new hires, and promotions or transfers and other important information for a newly hired or rehired city employee. The city encourages employee 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:

McGrath owns the utility and has an ordinance code 13.04.010 which addresses service provided standards for the water utility and clearly states what and how services are provided. The McGrath city council members are active in policy making for the utility and enforces those polices. The city administrator acts as the utility manager, the utility foreman reports to the city administrator. The city administrator has over six years experience with the City of McGrath. The administrator has been awarded the 2005 Alaska Water and Wastewater Management Association (AWWMA)System Manager of the Year and has been recognized by Tanana Chiefs Council for outstanding dedication to the McGrath Water System. The utility foreman has three plus years of experience and has been with the city for the last year. There are two water operators employed by the city. One operator has certification in Water Treatment 1 and Water Distribution 1, which expired on December 31, 2012. The other operator has certification in Water Distribution II and Water Treatment II valid through December 31, 2015. and has met the required continuing education units. The bookkeeper has been at the position for over two years and is a certified municipal clerk with the Alaska Association of Municipal Clerks and also has attended clerks training presented by Alaska Municipal League (AML).

 

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:

In addition to the utility foreman, there are two water operators employed by the city. One operator has certification in Water Treatment II and Water Distribution II, which expires on 12/31/2015. The second operator has a Level I provisional certification. The city also hopes to take on a volunteer through Alaska Job Corps who would like to acquire working hours in order to become eligible for a Level I exam and certification. Utility employees hold regular safety meetings and have a safety manual on hand. The utility has not had any significant outages due to management issues. The utility maintains a monthly preventative maintenance checklist for the water utility. The checklist includes maintenance of the river pump, inspection of chemical feed pump and injection point for fluoridation, inspection of chemical feed pumps for chlorination system and clearing sediment, inspection of tank farm valves, alarm panel battery backup system and pressure relief valve in the boiler. The City of McGrath has a current Consumer Confidence Report on file at the utility. The city is not on the April 2013 Significant Non-Compliance list. The utility has an inventory control list and critical spare parts list and copies were provided.

RUBA Activities for the Coming Quarter:

RUBA staff will continue to work with McGrath city staff as requested.