Quarterly Report: 2014, January - March (Q3), Cold Bay

Community:
Cold Bay 
Staff:
Glen Hamburg  
DCRA Regional Office:
Anchorage regional office 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
Aleutians East Borough 
Agreement?
Yes 
Agreement Date:
3/18/2013 
Entity:
City of Cold Bay 
Population:
85 2013 Department of Labor Estimate 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Completed 
Assessment Date:
3/18/2013 
Exp Date:
5/1/2014 
Last Updated:
4/17/2014 
Community Sanitation Overview:
Cold Bay lies at the western end of the Alaska Peninsula 634 miles southwest of Anchorage. The City of Cold Bay provides piped water, piped wastewater, and landfill services to the community. Water is derived from two wells, treated, and stored in a 213,000-gallon tank. The majority of residents are connected to the piped water and wastewater system. A few homes, however, have individual wells and wastewater systems of their own. The wastewater treatment plant processes approximately 45,000 gallons each day. Residents transport their own refuse to the landfill located 1.5 miles north of the city. G and K, Inc. provides electricity to the community. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
This quarter, Cold Bay’s public works director, who is one of the city’s primary utility operators, completed the 32-hour RUBA Planning Management for Rural Utilities course in Anchorage. On a pass-through visit to the community in February, RUBA staff met with the public works director and toured facilities and infrastructure. The public works director shared with RUBA staff several of Cold Bay’s development priorities and the infrastructure improvements that will be necessary to achieve them. He, along with other city staff, has requested RUBA assistance updating the community’s five-year plan. RUBA staff provided general guidance on how to conduct a community planning effort, issued the city an additional copy of the RUBA Planning Management for Rural Utilities student manual, and offered to lend further assistance as it relates to the provision of sanitation services in the community. Additionally this quarter, RUBA staff provided direction to city staff on how to write resolutions, reviewed financial reports and council meeting minutes, and verified that tax filing and deposit requirements have been fulfilled. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff will offer to make an on-site visit to the community in the coming quarter in order to provide any assistance necessary maintaining the city's current management practices. RUBA staff will also be available to assist in elements of the city's planning effort that relate to the provision of water and wastewater services.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
26 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
27 of 27
Total Score:
53 of 53

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
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.
Finances Comments
The City of Cold Bay follows the State of Alaska fiscal year running from July 1 to June 30 and the city’s FY14 budget was adopted timely by non-code ordinance on May 21, 2013. The budget is organized and balanced, and appropriately separates all income and expenses related to the management and operation of water and wastewater services from other city functions. The city realistically projects to receive $140,000 in revenue from water/wastewater user fees this fiscal year, and to spend approximately $101,000 on specifically water and wastewater plant expenses. The public works department, which handles sanitation service operations, brings additional operational expenses, but is budgeted for separately. Any expenses associated with sanitation services not met by user fees are balanced with locally generated revenue sources, such as local taxes, as well as state revenue sharing funds. The city budgets for repair and replacement costs as well as for heating fuel, electricity, insurance, payroll taxes, operator travel and training, testing, licensing, and chemicals. RUBA staff has verified that financial reports comparing budgeted and actual amounts are submitted to the policy making body at monthly council meetings. A review of these reports indicates that year-to-date income and expenditures are in line with amounts budgeted. The city receives fuel deliveries for the water treatment plant from Frosty Fuels, a subsidiary of the Aleut Corporation, on a monthly basis and is current in paying its utility bills to G and K, Inc.

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
The city’s adopted utility service rates and its billing and collections policies are outlined in detail in Title 6, Chapter 36 of the Cold Bay Code of Ordinances. In accordance with those policies, the city bills customers for sanitation services at the end of each month according to established customer classes. A review of reports made by the public works director to the city council indicates that unpaid customers are indeed disconnected as required by Section 6.36.120. Year-to-date revenue generated from customer payments is in line with amounts expected for this period in the fiscal year, which indicates that collections efforts are adequate. The utility uses QuickBooks Pro 2012 to track customer accounts, accounts payable, and employee payroll, as well as to conduct monthly bank reconciliations. When cash is received, the clerk uses QuickBooks to generate a receipt for the customer. The city has a cash disbursement system that requires the mayor's approval on major purchases for the utility. The chart of accounts lists all the bank accounts, accounts receivable, assets, accounts payable, liabilities, income and expenditures of the utility. Major purchases are discussed with the clerk and mayor with budgetary constraints being addressed.

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.
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.
Tax Problems Comments
The IRS's taxpayer advocacy service confirmed on March 13, 2014 that the City of Cold Bay is in compliance with its federal tax reporting and deposit requirements. The city is also current with employment security tax payments as of March 21, 2014 and is not on the January-February 2014 Lien Watch.

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.
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.
Personnel System Comments
RUBA staff verified on March 4, 2014 that the City of Cold Bay has a valid workers’ compensation insurance policy in place through the Alaska Municipal League Joint Insurance Association (AMLJIA). Title 2 of the city's municipal code addresses the appointment, responsibilities, compensation, and vacancies of certain utility staff and officials, including members of the city council and the city clerk/administrator. Title 10, Chapter 74 outlines the general responsibilities of city officers and employees, while Chapter 76 has authorized the council to adopt and amend the separate and comprehensive personnel policy for the city by resolution. The city utilizes job descriptions for each employee which detail minimum qualifications, duties, work hours, classification, pay range, and designated supervisor. Personnel files, which include these job descriptions as well as I-9s, job applications, and letters of acceptance, are kept within the city office. There is a six-month probationary period for newly hired employees outlined in the formally-adopted policies and procedures manual. When funding is available, the city sends staff to necessary trainings; the FY14 budget allocates $3,000 for travel and training specifically to water/wastewater enterprise steff. A review of council meeting minutes shows that personnel evaluations are conducted.

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
The City of Cold Bay was incorporated in 1981 as a second class city within the Aleutians East Borough. It has the necessary utility ordinance and a provisional certification of public necessity from the Alaska Regulatory Commission to operate utilities within the city limits. The council meets on the third Tuesday of the month as required by the municipal code, and a review of meeting minutes shows that the council routinely reviews utility-related issues, including utility bill collections efforts. The utility has curb stops to each connection that has proven effective for collections policy enforcement. The bookkeeper is the city clerk/administrator, who has attended a QuickBooks class sponsored by the RUBA program and has attended various utility management trainings. Cold Bay received QuickBooks installation and training assistance through the RUBA program in previous years and is still using the software effectively and efficiently. The State’s Department of Environmental Conservation recognizes three operators assigned to the city’s small water system: two primary operators and one backup operator. The backup operator has no certification. One primary operator has provisional certification in water treatment and distribution, as well as wastewater treatment and collection. These certifications expire at the end of 2015, but the operator has already met all renewal requirements. The other primary operator also holds provisional certification in water treatment and wastewater treatment and collection, and also is fully certified in Level 1 water distribution. An organizational chart that reflects the city’s current structure has been officially adopted and included with the city’s policies and procedures manual.

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
As demonstrated earlier in the ‘Organizational Management’ section of this report, the utility operators in Cold Bay continue to make all necessary steps toward maintaining their certification. A review of monthly city council meeting minutes shows that the public works director, who serves as a primary utility operator, makes regular operations and maintenance (O&M) reports and attends monthly AMLJIA safety meetings with other city staff. The utility has a copy of the Operations and Maintenance Manual at the water plant that was prepared by CE2 Engineers, Inc. in May 1998. The utility has filed and distributed the 2012 CCR and is not on the January 2014 Significant Non-Complier (SNC) list. The public works director maintains critical spare parts and inventory control lists at the water plant.