Quarterly Report: 2014, July - September (Q1), 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:
278  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
10/10/2013 
Community Sanitation Overview:
The main source of water for the community is a 167' well near the Kobuk River. Water is pumped 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. Wastewater 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. Currently, 53 homes are served by the piped water and wastewater system. The washeteria project is still incomplete since no new funding has been secured. The new lift station and lagoon was operational in January 2011. This new construction has made operations much easier. The construction of a new water treatment plant is complete and heat recovery project. A new community well was developed and is ready to be brought online. ANTHC has provided water plant building information to North West Arctic Borough (NWAB) for a solar panel installation project and will consult the structural engineer when provided the solar panel layout and design. In addition, an update to the existing master plan is fully complete. The Ambler City Council turned over water plant operations to Alaska Rural Utilities Collaborative (ARUC) starting August 1, 2010. ANTHC has updated eight existing project applications and inputted two new ones into the Sanitation Deficiency System (SDS) for FY 14 funding. Next quarter complete the necessary items for obtaining final approval to operate for the water treatment plant, 2002 well and lagoon, force main and lift station from ADEC. Continue to closeout activities for the legacy projects above and obtain the letter of approval from ADEC for the master plan update. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Kotzebue staff fielded some questions the acting Mayor called about regarding personnel so I referred her to the personnel policies, OTZ Telephone work they are performing, and the process to get their meeting fees increased. The acting mayor requested my assistance to train the new administrator on how to prepare monthly financial reports. The clerk has resigned so are using temporary help right now. The administrator called to get advise on the action the council took at their meeting. They had five councilmembers present. A motion was made that had three voting in favor and two against. The administrator asked if the motion did pass. I referred her to their ordinances under council procedures which states, ( as does Title 29) that in order for an ordinance, resolution or motion to pass, four affirmative votes are required for passage. Kotzebue staff advised the administrator in finding funds to cover the cost of a new 4 wheeler for their VPSO. We both reviewed her budget by line item and identified enough funds to cover that new cost the council directed her to find. I advised her to create a policy on the use of the four wheeler that the VPO must sign before he uses it and to make sure she gets insurance coverage for it. In addition they directed her to find out how much it would cost to hook up the Village Police Officer's rental home to water and sewer. After discussing with her the current water and sewer project currently underway, I told her to contact their engineer to see if that could be included and if not how much that cost would be. In addition, we talked about needing to amend her budget as the Northwest Arctic Borough provides funds the city can apply for FY 14 community revenue sharing so this additional expense can be included in the revenue sharing budget for the water and sewer hook up if need be. The new city administrator wanted to make sure this years election is done properly since last year's election was contested. Kotzebue staff reviewed with the administrator the seats that are up for election and the time table to follow.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Kotzebue LGS has plans to travel to train the new city administrator and clerk this next quarter. Kotzebue staff plans on providing training to the staff on their duties, RUBA requirements, and community revenue sharing.
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 ARUC financial report shows a balanced realistic budget for this fiscal year. All revenues and expenses for the utility are listed within the budget, and are reported to the council on a monthly basis. During the second quarter, the financials show that the collection rate is 90 percent. In reviewing the financial report it shows that they are receiving user fees to cover their operating expenses and repair and replacement costs. No budget amendment is needed at this time.

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
ARUC bills customers on a monthly basis and actively follow the adopted collection policy, notifying customers that they will be disconnected if they are more than two months past due. They utilize an accounting system which reports past due amounts, an accounts payable system, and a payroll system that correctly calculates payroll and keeps payroll records. Their system records all incoming money and how it was spent using a cash disbursement system. ARUC uses their budget line items as the chart of accounts, reconciling bank accounts before completing their monthly reports. The community uses their budget and latest monthly financial report before approving purchases, using purchase orders that are approved and recorded.

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
In reviewing the ARUC completed tax authorization form, they have no known debt and are current on filing and depositing taxes and reports.

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
ARUC and the city have paid the workers compensation insurance in full, which is posted and will remain in effect until October 2013 as verified by AMLJIA. The city's insurance is paid for until July 30, 2014. ARUC has an adopted personnel policy. The policy has been reviewed by an attorney. A written personnel evaluation process that ties into adequately written job descriptions is used. ARUC follows a written hiring process and has a probationary period for new hires that includes orientation, job training oversight and evaluations. ARUC provides training opportunities to employees onsite and supports attendance to any training the Department of Environmental Conservation puts on through Maniilaq Association. The city has budgeted funds to cover the costs to send utility personnel and/or council members to training as needed.

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 council signed an agreement with ARUC who oversees and operates their utility and enforces policy in order to effectively run the utility. The city council does comply with the open meetings act and meet monthly. They work with ARUC and support them with all their decisions. ARUC has adopted an organizational chart that reflects their current structure. The adequately trained city administrator oversees all staff of the organization. The council follow the ordinances adopted to give authority. ARUC has a trained manager and bookkeeper who report to the council on the operations of the utility. The operator has a certificate for small water treated system and water distribution provisional, but the Remote Maintenance Worker continues to offer on site assistance and training as needed.

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 two operators have been actively working towards their certification since they were hired in April 2012. The Environmental Health Manager continues to train and assist onsite as needed. The utility follows the preventative maintenance plan which helps prevent major problems. The utility is operating at the level proposed and maintains an inventory control list and critical spare parts list. They have completed and distributed a Consumer Confidence Report. The utility staff have held safety meetings and the manager receives a monthly report from the operators and routinely spot checks the facilities to see that the maintenance is being completed. Ambler is not on the Significant Non-Complier (SNC) list.