Quarterly Report: 2008, January - March (Q3), Hughes

Community:
Hughes 
Staff:
Leroy Seppilu  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of Hughes 
Population:
69  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
5/7/2008 
Community Sanitation Overview:
In 1968, a community water distribution system and individual household septic tanks were constructed. Initially the system worked well, and was expanded in 1973, however, the system froze during 1983 leaving only a few facilities operational. Thirty outhouses were constructed in 1984 to replace the frozen septic systems. Mant Hughes residents currently haul treated water from the central watering point. Eleven houses are served with piped water, plus the school, teacher's apartments, clinic and the city/tribe offices. The community facilities are connected to septic tanks. No homes have complete plumbing; most use honeybuckets and outhouses. The city uses an incinerator to reduce the volume of refuse, and participates in a recycling program. Preliminary work has begun on a new landfill site, new sewage lagoon and water treatment improvements. Electricity is provided by Hughes Power and Light. There is one school in the community, attended by 17 students. A local clinic is located in Hughes, tended by a health aide. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
At the invitation of the city, Fairbanks RUBA staff traveled to the community of Hughes to perform a RUBA assessment on March 27, 2008. The management assessment was completed and the city successfully met all essential and sustainable capacity indicators at this time. The Hughes office is using QuickBooks Pro for all accounting processes.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Hughes is not a RUBA community. RUBA made the updated assessment because Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) requested that a RUBA assessment be made as there is an upcoming sanitation project. RUBA staff will continue to monitor the community and provide assistance as requests are made.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
27 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
27 of 27
Total Score:
54 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
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
Like most of the villages in the shallow upper river areas of the Interior region, the City of Hughes has to air freight all its fuel in from Fairbanks at a substantially high cost. Gasoline is sold at $5.00 a gallon and fuel oil at $5.50 a gallon. The city owns the fuel sales utility. The city uses a comprehensive monthly financial statements with (current) Budget, Monthly, year-to-date revenue and expenditures and expected revenue and expenditures categories. An Excel spreadsheet converted from QuickBooks Pro is used for all finacial processes.

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
Both the city administrator and city clerk were recently trained with basic QuickBooks Pro accounting software by an accounting firm from Fairbanks. The training lasted a week. The city uses all aspects of the QuickBooks Pro accounting software program, including payroll, payroll recordkeeping, utility billing, etc.

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
The city is current on all quarterly tax reports and payments. The city submits payments to IRS who has deemed them compliant at this time. The city's employer rate for Employment Security Compensation (ESC) for 2008 is 1.66% and they are compliant with state tax filings.

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
One of the things that RUBA checked was the city clerk's ability to learn fairly complex financial issues, such as the Power Cost Equalization (PCE) program reports done by the city. The city owns and runs the electric utility. The city administrator taught the city clerk how to do the PCE reports. Apparently, the training was very effective, since the electric utility received over $27,000 in PCE subsidies last year. The city, despite being very small, is very well organized and has good personnel policies that is followed. Most of the employees are long-time except for the new water plant operator, who was hired in October, 2007. He already is Provisional 1 (formerly OIT) certified.

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 long-time city administrator has effectively trained the city clerk with all her responsibilities and duties. RUBA's observation was that she learns quickly and is a very capable person. She was able to find all the information RUBA asked for while the assessment was being made. The city's water/sewer utility ordinance is current and is updated on a regular basis.

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 utility operator is newly hired and recently attended a Remote Maintenance Worker (RMW)sponsored training in which he was certified as Water Operator Provision 1.