RUBA Community Status Report

Community Name: Alakanuk


Community:

Alakanuk

RUBA:

Yes

Staff:

Ken Berlin

Agreement:

Yes

DCA Region:

Bethel

Agreement Date:

Region:

Lower Yukon

Exp Date:

Govt Type(s):

2nd Class City

Borough:

Unorganized

Assessment Date:

9/11/2008

Population:

681

Active Community:

Yes

Date Updated:

12/4/2013


Community Sanitation Overview:

The City of Alakanuk operates the piped water and wastewater system, the central watering point, flush tank and haul system, and washeteria/sauna service. The city council is the policy making body for the utility. There are 135 utility customers hooked up to the system. Water is derived from the slough, treated, stored in a tank, and piped to most of the community. New facilities include a water treatment plant, a heated 300,000-gallon water storage tank, a vacuum wastewater plant, a wastewater lagoon, arctic piping and household plumbing. The new subdivision has been completed with all homes connected to the piped system.

RUBA Status
and Activities
this Quarter:

The city hired a new administrator, bookkeeper/clerk, and receptionist in May 2013. The new administrator has twenty six years of experience running his own business. The bookkeeper has a year of accounting experience with the Alakanuk Traditional Tribal Council. RUBA staff traveled to Alakanuk on June 24-25, 2013 to work with the city administration and finance staff. While on-site RUBA staff assisted with the FY14 budget, FY12 CFS, assessing utility damage by the spring flood, unpaid payroll tax liabilities, bulk fuel loan, and payroll advances. Payroll is contracted out to a company that handles all payroll functions of the city, including payroll tax deposits and reporting. The city has a monthly agreement with the company and plan on taking back the payroll functions when the unpaid payroll tax liabilities are paid off. RUBA staff assisted city staff to get the finance reports completed to present to the city council for their approval starting in July 2013. The FY14 budget was passed on July 18, 2013. The finance reports are up to date to September 2013 with meeting minutes. The city's electric bill has a credit for the August billing. The city is on the lien watch for September-October 2013. The state of Alaska Department of Labor deemed the city compliant to June 2013. 08/29/13 city administrator called and requested assistance in dealing with one of the local business owners who has not paid any sales tax for some time. Staff recommend to write a notice of nonpayment and to work out a repayment plan for unpaid sales taxes on record using their sales tax ordinance and collections policy. The sales taxes are one of the main locally generated incomes. The city was awarded funds from FEMA to repair the water and wastewater pipes damaged by the 2013 spring flood but those funds have not come through yet. But the city is already working on repairing the pipes. On November 18, 2013 the city passed a resolution with a declaration of disaster from the November 9, 2013 storm and flooding.

 

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.

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.

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:

A budget was adopted and passed for FY14. The finance reports are up to date to September 2013 with meeting minutes. The city has a credit in their AVEC billings for August 2013. The city administrator provides verbal reports to the council and these are recorded in the monthly meeting minutes, but did not provide copies of meeting minutes.

 

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 city utility ordinance was effective as of March 2008 and includes a collection policy. The collection policy identifies a grace period of 45 days for past due utility bills. RUBA staff has recommended adjusting the grace period to 30 days. A updated accounting system is being set up with QuickBooks. Payroll was contracted out to a company that handles all payroll functions of the city, including payroll tax depositions and reporting. The city is also looking at ARUC to operate and maintain it's water and wastewater system.

 

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.

No

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:

IRS confirmed non-compliance on July 1, 2013. The city missed filing 941 quarterly reports for the last three quarters of 2012 and first quarter of 2013. The City is on the lien watch for September-October 2013. The state of Alaska Department of Labor deemed the city compliant to 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.

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:

Alakanuk has workers compensation insurance according to the state division of workers compensation on July 1, 2013 to July 1, 2014. Job openings are posted in at least three public places. There is a probationary period of three months for new hires. The city administrator provides on the job training for new employees and other training is given when funds are available.

 

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 administrator was hired in May 2013 and has twenty six years of business experience and has experience using QuickBooks. The bookkeeper was hired in May 2013, she has a year of accounting experience with the Alakanuk Traditional Council. The City of Alakanuk provides water/wastewater services and operates a washeteria. The washeteria includes showers and saunas. The city held elections and certified the election results.The city council is active in reviewing and monitoring utility policies.

 

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.

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.

Comment:

The Alakanuk Water System did not clear the significant non-complier list on the October 2013 report. Alakanuk water treatment system is a Class 2 and the wastewater treatment system is Class 1. They have one operator, Kevin Joseph, who is certified as a water operator 1 and wastewater operator 1. He continues to attend training when possible.

RUBA Activities for the Coming Quarter:

RUBA staff will continue to monitor the utility and provide assistance and training when requested by the new administrative and finance staff.