Quarterly Report: 2011, October - December (Q2), Fort Yukon

Community:
Fort Yukon 
Staff:
Jeffrey Congdon  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of Fort Yukon 
Population:
591  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
2/2/2011 
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 110,000-gallon tank. A combination of piped water, water delivery and individual wells serves households. A flush/haul system, septic tanks, honey buckets and outhouses are used for sewage disposal. Approximately half of all homes are plumbed. The piped water system and household septic tanks were installed in 1984. The city has received funds to repair the piped water system (repairs are ongoing as needed) and to construct a piped gravity sewer system which is expected to be completed soon. Additional funding will be needed to complete subsequent stages of the overall project. 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). A new water system is currently under construction. The building for the water treatment facility is nearly finished and the water treatment equipment is being put in place this winter. A large (350,000 gallon) treated water storage tank is scheduled to be built during summer 2011. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Fairbanks RUBA staff contacted the city clerk in October regarding management of the utility. Previously Alaska Rural Utility Collaborative (ARUC) managed the utility, however the community ended the contract on October 1, 2010. Fort Yukon will once again handle all aspects of their utilities. The city of Fort Yukon currently does not have certified utility workers employed and the water system is marginal. In October the water was over chlorinated on one occassion and discolored on another occassion. The fire hydrants froze on October 13. City staff and contractors were able to thaw the hydrants. The city manager is working on rectifying these and other sanitation problems. The city struggles with compliance issues, but is currently maintaining and operating the old water treatment system competently while waiting for the new water treatment plant to come online. RUBA staff attended a week long Introduction to Small Water Systems class in Fort Yukon this November and toured the existing facilities and the facilities under construction as part of the course. Fort Yukon staff provided RUBA personnel with the requested financial documentation for this quarter.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff will maintain contact with the community in a very involved role continuing interactions with the city manager since the community did not renew their contract with ARUC and has regained responsibility for the day to day operations and finances of the utility system.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
23 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
21 of 27
Total Score:
44 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.
No 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.
No 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 of Fort Yukon has an adopted budget for Fiscal Year 2011. The utility is currently not operating close to the budgeted amounts, and the utility provider should request for an amendment to the budget to allow a more accurate portrayal of the finances. The utility is receiving revenues to cover the costs of operations. Revenue generation includes user fees and other sources. Information regarding the utility's billing system was not provided, the utility does not utilize the same accounting system for their accounts payable as they do for their other accounting transactions, but they do list an amounts payable as a line item for the balance sheet. According to the city treasurer the city will be purchasing fuel throughout the year from the local fuel distributor, and currently has enough funds for fuel for the year.

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.
No 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.
No 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.
Accounting Systems Comments
The utility in Fort Yukon has a collection policy that the utility follows. Utility bills are sent to customers on a regular basis. There is an existing accounts receivable program utilized in QuickBooks tracking customers and reporting past due accounts and amounts. Documentation of an accounts payable system was not provided to RUBA staff at present. RUBA staff is aware of a cash recording system utilizing a register and receipt system.

Tax Problems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility has a system to accurately calculate, track, and report payroll tax liabilities.
No The utility is current on filing tax reports.
Yes 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.
Tax Problems Comments
Fort Yukon is deemed compliant with the Alaska Department of Labor. The utility is current with making tax deposits. Fort Yukon is not in compliance with IRS reports, potentially due to use of multiple accounts and accounting firms. The city of Fort Yukon has a lien issued against it for an Alaska Employment Security Tax violation. This appears to be an error stemming from a change in accounting firms. According to the city bookkeeper, the lien reporting publication(s) and databases are not entirely up to date.

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
Workers compensation insurance coverage is purchased for the city of Fort Yukon through the Alaska Municipal League Joint Insurance Agency. The city currently has adequate job descriptions for all positions.

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 water/wastewater is owned and operated by the city of Fort Yukon. The new project is owned while under construction by Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, and will, once transfer of ownership and responsibility takes place, be owned and operated by the city of Fort Yukon. The utility has a trained bookkeeper. There is a city manager in Fort Yukon. The utility currently has a well trained competent operator. Staff arrangements in Fort Yukon have been volatile in the recent past, and staffing arrangements could continue to be problematic in the future. A water/wastewater ordinance is in place. A copy of the organizational chart is on file. The city council meets on a regular basis and complies with the Open Meetings Act.

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".
No 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 main utility operator has the necessary certifications; the operator utilizes a preventative maintenance plan and provides reports. According to Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation the city of Fort Yukon is on the November Significant Non-Complier list. The water system struggled in the prior quarter with high turbidity and improper or non sufficient chlorination disinfection techniques or measures. These issues are being resolved with improved operations of the existing facilities.