RUBA Community Status Report

Community Name: Grayling


Community:

Grayling

RUBA:

Yes

Staff:

Fred Broerman

Agreement:

No

DCA Region:

Bethel

Agreement Date:

Region:

Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta

Exp Date:

Govt Type(s):

2nd Class City

Borough:

Assessment Date:

1/10/2007

Population:

164

Active Community:

Yes

Date Updated:

9/30/2013


Community Sanitation Overview:

Water is derived from an infiltration gallery at Grayling Creek, treated, stored and piped throughout the community. The city's piped water and wastewater system provides service for 48 residential and three commercial customers as well as the community's school. Grayling was a charter member of Alaska Rural Utility Collaborative (ARUC) but their membership was terminated on June 30, 2009.

RUBA Status
and Activities
this Quarter:

An email request for documents needed to evaluate RUBA compliance was sent to the city on September 19, 2013. The city did has not provided the requested documents to the Bethel RUBA office nor has it responded to similar requests for over three years.

 

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.

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.

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.

N/A

Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.

Comment:

The city has not yet adopted a FY13 budget ordinance. A monthly financial report compliant with RUBA financial indicators was created for the city when Bethel staff worked with the city's clerks during the January 7-11 site visit. Bethel staff explained to the clerks the benefits of preparing monthly financial reports and presenting them at city council meetings. The clerks were told that keeping up with the monthly financial reports would: 1) keep council members informed how city expenses and revenues were tracking with the annual budget; 2) make drafting each year's annual budget easier; 3) facilitate completing Certified Financial Statements at the end of each fiscal year; and 4) be reviewed for RUBA compliance. Compliance for the RUBA 'Monthly financial reports' essential indicator requires a 3-6 month history of minutes from city council meetings which document council members reviewing and approving monthly financial reports. Both the minutes and the reports need to be submitted quarterly to the Bethel regional office. A March 19, 2013 email correspondence from personnel at Alaska Village Electric Cooperative (AVEC) indicated that the city is current on paying its electric accounts. Phone calls to the city and Hee-Yea-Lingde Corporation on January 23 and February 12, 2013 indicated that the city did not fill-up their 7,300 gallon bulk fuel tank during fall 2012 deliveries made by Ruby Marine. Only 3,000 gallons of heating fuel was purchased for the winter of 2012/2013. Therefore, the city's operators are now purchasing heating fuel (about 50 gallons a day) from Hee-Yea-Lingde Corporation at the retail price of $5.00 per gallon to run water plant boilers, instead of Ruby Marine's wholesale price of around $3.10 per gallon for bulk purchases. The corporation indicated it has enough fuel to sell to the city for its winter heating oil needs. Because the city has not yet adopted a FY13 budget, several essential and sustainable indicators for the 'Finances' section of the RUBA assessment could not be evaluated and were marked 'No'.

 

Capacity Indicator: Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators:

No

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.

No

The utility has a cash disbursement system that records how money was spent.

Sustainable Indicators:

No

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.

No

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 of Grayling has not provided the Bethel RUBA office a copy of the utility's collection policy. As of February 2013, Grayling's billing for water and wastewater services is being handled by Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium's (ANTHC) Billing Assistance Service. Therefore, the second, third, fourth and fifth essential indicators of this section are marked 'Yes'. During the last week in January 2013, RUBA contracted QuickBooks Helpline consultants worked with city staff in setting up the city's payroll and accounts payable. During a January 7-11 visit to the city office, Bethel RUBA staff assisted the city's clerks with reconciling 'City Fund' and 'Water and Sewer' checking accounts for December 2012.

 

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:

A March 20, 2013 email correspondence from the State of Alaska, Department of Labor's Anchorage Employment Security Tax office indicated the city was compliant with employment security tax requirements through December 31, 2012. However, the city did not fill out and submit an Authorization to Request Federal Tax Information form to the Bethel RUBA office that was emailed to them on March 11, 2013. Therefore, it could not be determined if the city is current on its federal tax filings and payments for 2009 through the third quarter of 2012. Therefore due to the unknown status of the tribe's federal taxes, two of the 'Tax Problems' essential indicators were marked 'No'. However, the city was not listed on the January-February 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:

No

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.

No

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.

No

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:

A March 9, 2013 query done on the Department of Labor's Worker's Compensation employer database indicates that the city has workers' compensation insurance for its employees through Alaska Municipal League Joint Insurance Association. Both city clerks attended RUBA sponsored Utility Clerk training from September 10-14 and one of the clerks attended the RUBA sponsored Introduction to QuickBooks training September 26-28. Water plant operators are given opportunity to attend trainings for State of Alaska sanitation facility certifications. Adequate information about other aspects of the city's personnel system have not been provided to the Bethel regional office. Therefore, several sustainable indicators for the 'Personnel System' section of the RUBA assessment could not be evaluated and were marked 'No'.

 

Capacity Indicator: Organizational Management

Essential Indicators:

No

The entity that owns the utility is known; the entity that will operate the utility is set.

No

The policy making body is active in policy making of the utility.

No

The policy making body enforces utility policy.

No

The utility has an adequately trained manager.

No

The utility has an adequately trained bookkeeper.

Yes

The utility has an adequately trained operator or operators.

No

The utility has adopted the necessary ordinances (or rules and regulations) necessary to give it the authority to operate.

Sustainable Indicators:

No

The utility has adopted an organizational chart that reflects the current structure.

No

The policy making body meets as required.

No

The utility complies with the open meeting act for all meetings.

Comment:

The City of Grayling's Code of Ordinances, dated June 2002, does not contain a water or wastewater department section. The Alaska Certified Water/Wastewater Operator Database recognizes Grayling's water treatment plant as a 'Small Water System/Treated' facility. An April 9, 2013 query of the database found none of the city's four operators certified to the level of the water plant. Other documents and information regarding the city's organizational management have not been provided. Therefore, the essential and sustainable indicators for the 'Organizational Management' section of the RUBA assessment could not be evaluated and were marked 'No'.

 

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:

No

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.

No

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.

No

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

No

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

No

The utility is not on the "Significant Non-Complier" (SNC) list.

No

The utility maintains an inventory control list.

Yes

The utility maintains a critical spare parts list.

Comment:

A copy of the Operation and Maintenance Manual for Grayling's Water Treatment Plant, dated July 2003, is electronically filed at the Bethel regional office. It contains a preventive maintenance plan, a safety section and a critical spare parts list. The Alaska Certified Water/Wastewater Operator Database recognizes Grayling's water treatment plant as a 'Small Water System/Treated' facility. An April 9, 2013 query of the database found none of the city's four operators certified to the level of the water plant. The city is on the July 2013 SNC list. A copy of the city's 2012 Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) is electronically filed at the Bethel RUBA office. However, a certification form signed by a city official indicating the report was distributed and posted in the community has not been provided. Other operational information for the city has not been provided. Therefore, several sustainable indicators for the 'Operation of the Utility' section of the RUBA assessment could not be evaluated and were marked 'No'.

RUBA Activities for the Coming Quarter:

Bethel regional office staff will continue to encourage Grayling's city clerks and council members to begin submitting documents necessary for RUBA compliance to the Bethel regional office on a quarterly basis.