Quarterly Report: 2008, January - March (Q3), Fort Yukon

Community:
Fort Yukon 
Staff:
 
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of Fort Yukon 
Population:
570  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
5/7/2008 
Community Sanitation Overview:
Water is derived from two wells, is treated, and then 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 on going, as needed) and to construct a piped gravity sewer system to eventually serve 250 residents and businesses, which is in progress and expected to last two more years (2010). Upgraded water service and new piped sewer service was installed for approximately 50 customers including the school in 2006. Additional funding will be needed to complete subsequent stages of the overall project. Electricity is provided by Gwitchyaa Zhee Utilities: the City hopes to be able to get waste heat for the water/sewer utility from the power company, this is anticipated to start in 2008 and be ready for the winter of 2009. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Fairbanks RUBA staff traveled to Fort Yukon three times this quarter and determined that they do not currently meet all essential indicators. LGS/RUBA staff also maintained contact with the city manager and the city clerk via phone, fax, email, and an on-site visit responding to questions regarding budgeting, financial reporting and elections. Staff turnover continues to be an issue. This quarter an accounting clerk resigned and a new clerk was hired, the city manager was removed from office, and the maintenance director submitted his resignation, although he will continue as the water plant operator. A current city council member, Paul Shewfelt, is the acting city manager. Recruitment is ongoing. The community was selected to receive three, onsite, intensive QuickBooks trainings by a contractor which was completed March 26, 2008.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
A RUBA assessment was done on March 27, 2008. The assessment will be finalized the next quarter.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
24 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
19 of 27
Total Score:
43 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.
No Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
Based on available financial data, the utility is generating sufficient revenue to meet operating expenses and to cover at least some repair and replacement costs. The City has a repair and replacement account for the water/sewer utility and the Manager wants to keep that account intact to assure that funds will always be available when needed for repair and replacement.

Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
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.
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 utility meets all indicators for its accounting system, but there is room for improvement. The utility account is part of the overall accounting system for the City. The City has numerous accounts and classes (departments) and the accounting system should be simplified to make it easier to use. The City of Fort Yukon has been selected for on-site QuickBooks training to be provided by a contractor hired through a special grant with the RUBA program. The training should happen in the first quarter of 2008, January with any luck.

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
According to contact with the IRS, the City of Fort Yukon has filed tax reports. Although for two quarters in 2007 the amounts were incorrect (amendments to those were filed March 27th, 2008). The Alaska Department of Labor said it was 'ok'.

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.
No 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.
No 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
Fort Yukon developed its own personnel policy and manual: RUBA staff has a copy on file. The utility provides training opportunities to their staff as needed and available. Five city positions are missing job descriptions and the descriptions for the treasurer and city clerk are in conflict with local ordinances.

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.
No 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
No 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 council does not appear to be actively enforcing policy regarding delinquent customer accounts. An organizational chart could not be located, staff did not remember seeing one (albeit, the staff is new). RUBA has offered to develop an org chart.

Operation of Utility

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
N/A 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.
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.
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.
No The utility maintains an inventory control list.
No The utility maintains a critical spare parts list.
Operation of Utility Comments
The main water line from the water plant broke February 18, 2008, it was discovered in the morning, (the line broke in the same general area on March 16, 2007) and 70 to 80,000 gallons of treated water was lost. The line was fixed the same evening and water was being treated around 2 or 3 am. According to the Tanana Chiefs' Conference Remote Maintenance Worker (RMW), the utility has a very good level II operator, although, based on the complexity of the system it is the RMW's suggestion that level III certification is needed. While there is no formal inventory control list, the operator maintains good inventory control and has adequate critical spare parts available. The operator checks in with the manager on a regular basis and updates him regarding water consumption, test results and any problems with the utility. The water utility does not hold regular safety meetings, verbal communications indicated that safety meetings are held for the sewer haul employees.