RUBA Community Status Report

Community Name: Scammon Bay


Community:

Scammon Bay

RUBA:

Yes

Staff:

Fred Broerman

Agreement:

No

DCA Region:

Bethel

Agreement Date:

9/28/2007

Region:

Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta

Exp Date:

9/28/2008

Govt Type(s):

2nd Class City

Borough:

Unorganized

Assessment Date:

4/12/2012

Population:

498

Active Community:

Yes

Date Updated:

11/14/2013


Community Sanitation Overview:

The City of Scammon Bay operates the piped water and wastewater utility and its council is the policy making body. The community's drinking water is derived from an infiltration gallery located on a small fast flowing stream just southeast of the city. Construction on the city's new water treatment plant was completed in the fall of 2013. The plant was built with 4 million dollars in funding from Indian Health Services (IHS) and 1.7 million dollars from Village Safe Water (VSW). Scammon Bay provides piped water and waste water service to sixty-nine residential and six commercial customers, including the school. About 16 households pack water and use honey buckets and hand haul waste to the community's sewage lagoon. Due to the design, materials, and age of the city's water distribution infrastructure there have been many leaks, which will continue until the old PVC water and wastewater lines are replaced with high-density polyethylene (HDPE) lines.

RUBA Status
and Activities
this Quarter:

Bethel RUBA staff visited Scammon Bay's city office from July 8-10, 2013. During the visit a RUBA compliant FY14 multi-month financial statement was created to help city staff track the municipality's revenues and expenditures. RUBA staff also conducted training with the city's clerk on the specifics of RUBA compliance. On August 8, 2013, Bethel staff attended a Technical Assistance Provider (TAP) teleconference for the utility. During the teleconference the city's RUBA status, water plant and facility operation, water testing compliance and construction activity on the city's new water treatment plant were discussed. Billing and collections for Scammon Bay's piped water and wastewater services have been handled by Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium's (ANTHC) Assisted Billing Service since September 2009. According to ANTHC's assisted billing records the City of Scammon Bay's year-to-date collection rate through August for (federal) FY13 is sixty-seven percent. Last quarter, the city started a project to have signed service agreements in place for all of its 71 residential water and wastewater customers. As of the date of this writing the city has service agreements with all but one of its customers. Last quarter the city manager filed the paperwork necessary for the city to receive PFD payments of water and wastewater customers with past due balances on their accounts. The city now has 20 customers paying their user fees through PFD deductions. On September 9, 2013, Scammon Bay's city manager emailed Bethel RUBA staff about conflicting advice council members were suggesting with regards about 21 thousand dollars in revenue the city had received from two sources that was not included in the FY14 appropriations budget. Bethel staff advised the city manager that the unbudgeted revenues were large enough that the city's FY14 budget should be amended to reflect the new revenues by council members executing a non-code budget ordinance. The community's new water treatment plant came on-line this quarter and is now producing potable water. The city is anticipating starting its membership with ARUC in April 2014.

 

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.

N/A

Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.

Comment:

A copy of the city's FY 2014 budget ordinance, adopted on June 25, 2013, is electronically filed at the Bethel regional office. The budget appears to be detailed and balanced and includes revenues and expenses for the utility. Minutes from city council meetings held on June 4, July 2 and August 6, were provided for this report as well as monthly financial reports from June, July and August. The meeting minutes mention the monthly financial reports being reviewed. A November 15, 2013 phone conversation with Alaska Village Electric Cooperative indicated that the city was current on all seven of its electric accounts. The city's budget appears to have budgeted adequate funding for heating fuel for the winter of 2013/2014, and will not need a bulk fuel loan to pay for summer or fall deliveries. The city's FY14 water and wastewater department budget does not have line item for Repair and Replacement costs. Highlights from the manager's reports are included in city council 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:

Copies of the City of Scammon Bay Code of Water and Sewer Ordinances adopted on January 8, 2004 and September 13, 2011 are on file at the Bethel regional office. Sections 1.11-1.16 of the January 2004 ordinance address: utility rates, notices, billing and payments, administration and enforcement, discontinuance and restoration of services. Billing and collections for Scammon Bay's piped water and wastewater services have been handled by Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium's (ANTHC) Assisted Billing Service since September 2009. The service bills customers, collects payments, tracks account histories and provides monthly reports to the utility for a small fee. According to ANTHC's assisted billing records the City of Scammon Bay's year-to-date collection rate through August for (federal) FY13 is sixty-seven percent. On September 13, 2011, city council raised residential water and wastewater rates from $30 to $75 a month. This rate increase reflects the council's intentions to eventually have user fees covering all the operational and maintenance costs of running the utility. The city has service agreements for all but one of its 71 residential water and wastewater customers. Last quarter, the city manager filed the paperwork necessary for the city to receive PFD payments of water and wastewater customers with past due balances on their accounts. The city now has 20 customers paying their user fees through PFD deductions. A chart of accounts from the city's QuickBooks software was provided during the April 25, 2012 RUBA assessment. Bank account statements and reconciliations for June, July and August 2013 were provided for this report. City ordinances have written purchasing procedures that require prior approval by the city manager.

 

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.

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 September 23, 2013 email correspondence from Alaska Department of Labor in Anchorage indicated the city has a balance due for the second quarter of 2013 for Employment Security Taxes. A September 30, 2013 phone conversation with the Fairbanks IRS office indicated the city has no delinquent federal tax balances or late informational reports. The city was not listed on the July-August 2013 LIEN WATCH: A Review of Small Community Liens.

 

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.

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.

No

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 of Scammon Bay is insured by Alaska Municipal League Joint Insurance Association, Inc (AMLJIA). A July 2, 2013 phone call to Alaska Municipal League Joint Insurance Association indicated that the city had renewed its workers compensation policy for FY14. A copy of City of Scammon Bay Employee Handbook, Personnel Policies which was drafted by AMLJIA on April 15, 2013 and adopted by Ordinance Chapter 2.08 on May 7, 2013 is electronically filed at the Bethel RUBA office. The handbook has an adequate written hiring process, gives employees a 90 day probationary period, and includes orientation, job training/oversight, and evaluations. During a March 12-13, 2012 RUBA assessment visit the city manager provided RUBA staff with job descriptions for their city clerk, public safety officer, city manager, water plant operator and other positions not currently filled. The job descriptions and personnel policy are electronically filed at the Bethel regional office. The city's personnel files were reviewed on July 8, 2013. Not all employee files had I-9s, job application and letter of acceptance. The city has sent its water operators and administrative staff to trainings within the last year. The city manager has not yet had opportunity to develop written personnel evaluations that tie job description to evaluation criteria for his staff.

 

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 of Scammon Bay has water and wastewater ordinances that were passed on January 8, 2004 and September 13, 2011 which indicate that the city is the sole owner of the utility and gives a description of service. Billing and collections for Scammon Bay's piped water and wastewater services have been handled by Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium's (ANTHC) Assisted Billing Service since September 2009. The service bills customers, collects payments, tracks account histories and provides monthly reports to the utility for a small fee. According to ANTHC's assisted billing records the City of Scammon Bay's year-to-date collection rate through August for (federal) FY13 is sixty-seven percent. The city has service agreements for all but one of its 71 residential water and wastewater customers. Last quarter, the city manager filed the paperwork necessary for the city to receive PFD payments of water and wastewater customers with past due balances on their accounts. The city now has 20 customers paying their user fees through PFD deductions. This indicates that city council is active in the policy making of the utility and enforcing policies. The city manager started working for the city in March of 2011, and has worked as an office manager with Askinuk Corporation, a bookkeeper for Scammon Bay Traditional Council and as an IT specialist with Coastal Villages Region Fund. The city's water operator has a 'Water Distribution 1' and 'Water Treatment 1' certificates that expire on December 31, 2014. The city's water and wastewater utility is classified by the State of Alaska as having a Class 2 Water Distribution System, a Class 1 Water Treatment System, a Class 1 Wastewater Collection System and a Wastewater Lagoon. The operator is attaining on-the-job experience and certifications necessary to be equivalent to the State of Alaska classification of city's water plant and water treatment facilities. An organization chart for the city's staff was passed by resolution during a February 5, 2013 council meeting. A copy of the meeting minutes and the resolution is electronically filed at the Bethel RUBA office. The city council usually meets 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 their local ordinances.

 

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.

No

The utility maintains an inventory control list.

No

The utility maintains a critical spare parts list.

Comment:

The city manager routinely 'spot checks' work done on the water treatment facilities. He interfaces with the operator on a daily basis at which time he receives status reports on the utility's facilities. The city's water operator has a 'Water Distribution 1' and 'Water Treatment 1' certificates that expire on December 31, 2014. The city's water and wastewater utility is classified by the State of Alaska as having a Class 2 Water Distribution System, a Class 1 Water Treatment System, a Class 1 Wastewater Collection System and a Wastewater Lagoon. The operator is attaining on-the-job experience and certifications necessary to be equivalent to the State of Alaska classification of city's water plant and water treatment facilities. A copy of the city's preventive maintenance plan is electronically filed at the Bethel regional office. Copies of the city's 2012 Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) and a certification form signed by the city manager on July 17, 2013 indicating the CCR has been distributed by mail to the community are electronically filed at the Bethel regional office. Scammon Bay's water system was not listed on the April 2013 Significant Non-Complier (SNC).

RUBA Activities for the Coming Quarter:

Bethel staff is willing to work with Scammon Bay's administrative staff to help the city with non compliant RUBA indicators.