Quarterly Report: 2007, April - June (Q4), Ambler

Community:
Ambler 
Staff:
Margaret Hansen  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of Ambler 
Population:
283  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
8/6/2007 
Community Sanitation Overview:
The main source of water for the community is a 167' well near the Kobuk River. Water is pumped 940 feet to the treatment facility and stored in a 210,000-gallon insulated tank, then piped to most homes. An 80' standby well is also located at the water treatment plant. Sewage is collected via six and eight inch arctic pipes and flows to a facultative lagoon through two lift stations where it discharges to a natural watershed, then the Kobuk River. Recently the city had to file an DEC accidental discharge/spill notification report due to a leak in their sewage lagoon. They repaired it using 40 sand bags and hauled frozen leakage to the dump site. Currently, 53 homes are served by the piped water and sewer system. Funds have been requested to connect the remaining 13 homes and offices to the piped system. A new water treatment plant, washeteria, and sewage lagoon have been funded. The landfill is not permitted. Here is the status of the projects: The plans for the sewage lagoon, lift station, and force main are complete. The intent is to finish construction of these during the summer 2006 but due to asbestos in the gravel, NANA has not released any usuage of their gravel as yet. The City Office/Washeteria project has begun and expected to be completed by October 1st. The Water Treatment Plant design is 100% complete. They intend to start construction in the summer of 2007 and complete the project (including demolition of the existing water treatment plant) during the summer of 2007. Plans for the two water distribution system projects are still 95% complete. They intend to start and finish construction on these during the summer of 2007. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Kotzebue RUBA/LGS traveled to Ambler in June to provide on-site training on budgeting and certifying their financial statement to the State to qualify for their Municipal Energy Assistance Program funds. RUBA staff continues to monitor the community's progress and will conduct a site visit next quarter. The City continues to meet essential indicators this quarter. They are preparing for this summer water/sewer construction season. Fortunately the tribe finally signed the Cooperative Project Agreement so the sewage lagoon project can move forward except that the city is still trying to find clean gravel. The asbestos gravel study is not yet complete. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff traveled to Ambler first week of June to provide budget training and certified financial statement to the clerk and New Mayor to qualify for their MEAP funding.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
27 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
23 of 27
Total Score:
50 of 54

Finances

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
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
Answer Question
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.
No Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
The city had to take over selling fuel to its residents since the IRA has had cash flow problems preventing them to buy fuel timely. Even though this triggered a need to amend their budget to account for the State energy assistance grants coming in to pay for low income residents fuel, they have been under staffed and unable to do a budget amendment.

Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
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
Answer Question
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.
Accounting Systems Comments
During RUBA staff last visit, she found that bank reconciliations were not being done timely mainly due to new fuel department work load.

Tax Problems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
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.
Yes 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.
Tax Problems Comments
All tax deposits were being done until June due to staff leave and cash flow problems.

Personnel System

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility has a posted workers compensation insurance policy in effect.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
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.
Yes 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.
Personnel System Comments
They have had an acting administrator for most of the year who was a councilmember and the local VPSO. He has quit his VPSO job and goes to the southeast to fish every summer. Without a permanent administrator they find that evaluations are not being done timely.

Organizational Management

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
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
Answer Question
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.
Organizational Management Comments
Even though the acting administrator with experience has done well, RUBA staff has advised they hire a permanent person. The city has budgeted a higher salary for the administrator in hopes of attracting a qualified person for the job.

Operation of Utility

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
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
Answer Question
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.
Operation of Utility Comments
The city is on the SNC list this quarter because they did not do their TTHM/HAA5 sampling. Clerk ordered the kit and sent in the sample in June.