RUBA Community Status Report

Community Name: Fort Yukon


Community:

Fort Yukon

RUBA:

Yes

Staff:

Jeff Congdon

Agreement:

No

DCA Region:

Fairbanks

Agreement Date:

Region:

Interior

Exp Date:

Govt Type(s):

2nd Class City

Borough:

Unorganized

Assessment Date:

6/21/2013

Population:

586

Active Community:

Yes

Date Updated:

10/10/2013


Community Sanitation Overview:

The City of Fort Yukon operates a class 2 water system. The water treatment facility treats water from a well that is influenced by both groundwater and surface water. The treated water is stored in a 350,000-gallon tank. A combination of piped water, water delivery and individual wells serves households. A flush/haul system, wastewater tanks, honey buckets and outhouses are used for wastewater disposal. Nearly every home in Fort Yukon is connected to the new piped system. Electricity is provided by Gwitchyaa Zhee Utilities. Waste heat from the electric utility may be available for the water/wastewater utility pending available funding and agreement between the utilities. It is recommended that this option should be actively pursued (depending on feasibility and practicality of utilizing available waste heat). Construction was completed on a new water treatment facility, with a grand opening in January, 2012.

RUBA Status
and Activities
this Quarter:

On July 1 Fairbanks RUBA staff finalized and distributed a RUBA management assessment for water and wastewater utility for the City of Fort Yukon. Fort Yukon is currently passing all essential indicators as well as all sustainable indicators. The multiple phased 27 million dollar construction project has recently been completed in Fort Yukon and ANTHC is in the process of demobilizing out of that community. RUBA staff will continue to work closely with the City of Fort Yukon to ensure all indicators continue to be met. On July 8, Fairbanks RUBA staff spoke with Fort Yukon's interim city manager. The interim city manager stated that Fort Yukon hired a manager who came up to Fort Yukon for one night, then left. The interim manager may remain indefinitely as the city manager in Fort Yukon. LGS staff advised the manager on negotiating payment on a contract with Cruz Construction, the formation of a utility board, dust control and road maintenance, water and wastewater customer collections, and billing customers. On July 10, Fairbanks RUBA staff traveled to Fort Yukon to present a financial sustainability presentation at the special meeting. The council decided to form a utility board consisting of community members to act as an advisory board to the council regarding water and wastewater decisions. Fairbanks staff drafted an ordinance amending Fort Yukon code 13.08 to reflect the formation of a utility board. RUBA staff observed the council interview a candidate for the position of city manager. Fort Yukon verbally agreed to hire an interim city manager with a start date to be during the week of July 14, 2013. On July 23, Fairbanks RUBA staff met with the new Fort Yukon city manager in Fairbanks. Fairbanks RUBA staff and Fort Yukon personnel spoke about utility management and staff management plans for Fort Yukon. The new city manager is hired as an interim manager, and has years of Alaska experience; both rural and road system. Fairbanks staff will advise and assist as invited.

 

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.

Yes

Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.

Comment:

The City of Fort Yukon drafted, adopted, and submitted a realistic, balanced FY14 budget. All revenue and expenses for water/wastewater utility are listed in the budget. The city passed the FY14 budget on May 14, 2013. Finance reports are submitted to the city council monthly. These reports include a profit and loss budget vs. actual for the council; councilmembers have an accurate financial picture of the utility. Accounts payable reports show all payable accounts paid within 60 days. The city has an annual financial plan to purchase fuel from Crowley, the local fuel provider. The water and wastewater utilities operate at a profit. Projected incomes after expenses for FY14 water and wastewater utilities are $236,123. These funds will offset expenses of $228,576 in the public works department. Repair and replacement funds are set aside monthly and placed into a certificate of deposit. The FY12 CD investment was $12,180. These funds are generated by a $5/customer fee included in the monthly billing. Budget amendments are completed as necessary; an ordinance adopting Fiscal Year Revision 2 of the FY13 budget was adopted April 9, 2013. This revision shows gaming revenues decreasing throughout the year utility revenues performed better than the initial FY13 budget, water and wastewater revenues after the budget amendment passed, were raised to $328,590. This revision also shows an increase in water testing expenses, and an increase in water house supplies. The revision accounts for these price increases over the initial FY13 budget. With the revised budget in place, the utility expenditures are below amounts budgeted. A monthly manager's report was prepared and delivered at the council meeting.

 

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 collection policy that throughout the summer is strictly adhered to. During the winter sections of the collection policy are not enforced, as the city does not shut off water utilities during the winter to avoid freezing the main lines. After following the collections process the city has a collection rate of 98 percent. The City of Fort Yukon's bookkeeping personnel, Velma Carroll and her assistant Jacqueline bill customers on a regular basis with an invoice for each service. The bookkeeper also sends a statement with line items for each service rendered, which references the individual invoices, and includes an inclusive total. Fort Yukon utilizes QuickBooks for accounts receivable, payable, payroll, and for cash recording. QuickBooks accurately tracks past due accounts and amounts receivable. Accounts payable are entered into QuickBooks as received, QuickBooks accurately tracks accounts payable. QuickBooks accurately tracks payroll, however supervisors need to work with employees to ensure employee hours are itemized correctly. The utility also utilizes a cash receipt system. The City of Fort Yukon's chart of accounts correctly identifies categories. Velma Carroll, City of Fort Yukon Treasurer, reconciles and files all bank transactions for the city's utilities on a monthly basis. The utility maintains petty cash for small purchases from the grocery store. No other bills are paid with cash, cash received as payment is stored in the city safe, then deposited to the bank. Bank account reconciliation has taken place up through July 2013. The city department heads are informed of the amounts of funding available, and of their financial situation(s) within the city's budget. The approval process for purchases compares proposed expenditures with budgeted and existing funds prior to the purchase being made.

 

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 City of Fort Yukon's bookkeeping office maintains a well organized three ring binder of payroll records, organized quarterly by date. Bookkeeping staff utilize this paper record as well as electronic records through QuickBooks to ensure timely preparation and payment of federal and state tax reports and deposits. The utility is current with all IRS reports and payments for federal tax reporting and deposits. The utility is current with Alaska DOL quarterly reporting.

 

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 of Fort Yukon has a posted workers compensation insurance policy in effect provided through AMLJIA which is in effect 10/3/2013. The city utilizes a personnel policy handbook wherein adequate job descriptions are written for all positions, the utility hiring process and job evaluation process are included in the handbook. Job notices are posted with the job description and are advertised locally at least 14 days. The personnel folder for each employee contains their I-9, job application, letter of acceptance, any employee evaluations, a copy of the employees acceptance of the personnel handbook, and other information that may be specific to that employee. Employees are evaluated annually, by their supervisor. The supervisor reports the evaluation to the personnel officer; the personnel officer is the city manager. All employees were evaluated in April 2013. The City of Fort Yukon has a 90 day probationary period for all new hires; orientation, oversight, and job training are provided during the probationary period, ongoing training opportunities are provided as necessary.

 

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 Fort Yukon is the owner of the utility; the utility is named City Water and Sewer and operates under Alaska Business License 253521. The city council is the policy making body, the city council is also the utility board. Fort Yukon is in the process of creating a utility board to act in an advisory manner to the council. The city council will remain the responsible entity for the utility. They meet monthly as required by Alaska Statute, and they do enforce the utility policy. The utility is managed by Marvin Yoder. Velma Carroll is the bookkeeper for the utility; she is very organized and quite competent and has over five years experience in the position of treasurer/bookkeeper. Eric Tremblay is the main water operator for the utility; he is mechanically inclined and intimately knowledgeable with Fort Yukon's utilities. Mr. Tremblay is currently certified at Water Treatment level 3 and Water Distribution level 3. He is certified above the requirements necessary for the City Water and Sewers utility system. Mr. Tremblay also holds a Wastewater Collection level 2 certificate and a Wastewater Treatment level 1. Mr. Tremblay has over five years of experience with the water and wastewater utility systems in Fort Yukon. Mr. Tremblay currently works part time for the City of Fort Yukon as the water operator, and maintains the availability to work seasonally in Fort Yukon on construction projects etc. Jay Stackhouse is the back-up operator. He has provisional level certificates in all levels. Training is available to all personnel. Training opportunities are offered to staff when available and attendance of training is encouraged. The utility recently maintains an organizational chart to reflect the current staff relations. The utility body meets monthly, as a city council is mandated to, and does comply with the Open Meetings Act for all meetings.

 

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:

The utility operator(s) actively work towards and continue to keep their certifications compliant. The manager and the utility operator communicate on a routine basis; Mr. Tremblay gives verbal updates to the manager at least weekly, more often if some issue exists. The water operator provides a written report to the council on at least a monthly basis. The city manager checks on the water plant facilities. City of Ft. Yukon personnel do hold safety meetings; they also participate in the monthly AMLJIA telephonic safety meetings. There are currently no unresolved major problems or outages within the utility facilities or distribution system. The water treatment plant is producing potable water, and is currently not on the Significant Non-Compliance list. The last Consumer Confidence Report on file is from 2012. The utility maintains an inventory control list, and is proactive in purchasing supplies and equipment. The utility also maintains a spare parts inventory and a critical spare parts list for the existing water treatment facility. These lists were provided by ANTHC, as the utility continues to operate, the operator will continue to update spare parts lists for the water treatment facility.

RUBA Activities for the Coming Quarter:

RUBA staff will travel to Fort Yukon to facilitate a utility board meeting the week of November 4. RUBA staff will continue to assist in updating the Fort Yukon Municipal Code, and will continue to be available for training and advice as requested.