Quarterly Report: 2009, July - September (Q1), Fort Yukon

Community:
Fort Yukon 
Staff:
Leroy Seppilu  
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:
11/17/2008 
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 made one on-site visit to the community to work on meeting a couple of RUBA indicators that were not met when a RUBA management assessment was made last spring. The city was in the process of passing the FY09 budget. The city finances were reveiwed with the city treasurer and it was noted that a $2.9 million dollar budget is proposed for FY09. The treasurer provides year-to-date finance reports to the council and gives detailed verbal comments to explain the figures to the council. While visiting Fort Yukon, the wastewater plant operator approached RUBA staff and asked if the daily plant logs were received. Apparently the Alaska Tribal Health Consortium Utility Support Specialist had mis-stated the need for RUBA to see the daily plant logs. RUBA discussed the management assessment with the plant operator and received operations information necessary to meet the criteria in that section. The plant operator meets all essential management indicators at this time. RUBA Management Assessment update: Fairbanks and Anchorage RUBA staff traveled to Fort Yukon October 15, 2008 to review with City staff the RUBA management assessment report that was written last summer. RUBA management assessments are required for sanitation project funding and several essential management indicators were found to be deficient when the assessment was conducted. RUBA staff assigned to the community reviewed the City's finances with the City Treasurer/City Manager and verified that the City's budget has been adopted properly. Also, budget vs. actual monthly financial reports are being created for Council Members and workers compensation insurance has been secured. The City of Fort Yukon now meets all essential management indicators. RUBA staff will continue to monitor the City's monthly financial reports and assist City staff if requested. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Fairbanks RUBA staff will continue to monitor city's finances and send reminders to have city send monthly financial reports as agreed to with the passage of the RUBA Assessment.
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 treasurer provides very detailed financial reports to the city council on a monthly basis, however, the reports do not include specific monthly totals. The reports have a year-to-date totals from the beginning of the fiscal year (July 1st). RUBA staff recommended a format in Excel spreadsheet for the city to use. A sample was provided which included revenue/expenditure category, current budget figure, total monthly revenue/expenditure figure, Year-To-Date total, and Balance (comparison with budget and YTD). The city has not adopted the FY09 budget yet. Until that occurs, the indicators dependant upon the budget are unable to be documented. Update: The city has adopted a realistic and balanced FY '09 budget. Monthly financial reports are made using Quickbooks Pro format, acceptable to RUBA.

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 utility has adopted a collection policy and actively follows it. The city treasurer has been very successful with collecting past due water/wastewater utility accounts by asking customer that want to cash their check to make a partial payment to their city accounts. The city acts as a local 'bank' since a lot of cash passes through the city treasurer's office. All the money received as payment for services rendered is recorded and assigned to the proper account.

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
City of Fort Yukon is compliant with IRS and ESD tax reports and payments.

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
The city has fairly comprehensive personnel policies. It may need to be updated per Title 29 update requirement for ordinances (although the PP is not part of the code of ordinances). We plan on updating and revising the city's water/wastewater utility ordinance, in addition to the code.

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 is trying a couple of tactics to collect past due accounts, mostly residential customers. The city did take most of the past due customers to small claims court without success. The city council has authorized the city administration to collect by hiring a collections agency. It may mean a loss of up to 60%, but the council feels it is worth the try. The city treasurer also asks past due water/wastewater utility customers who are cashing their checks to make a payment on their accounts. This has worked really well in favor of the city. The acting city manager has extensive experience as a past city manager (now retired) and currently as a city council member. He executes other powers and duties lawfully prescribed by the council, adequately qualifies as the city manager to step in as the utility manager. The city has updated its organizational chart and has it posted for the public and employees. It is also filed in its records.

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 inventory and critical spare parts lists are addressed as adequate by the ANTHC project supervisor. RUBA discussed the issues with him and he said when the sanitation project is completed in the next couple of years, there will be enough inventory and critical spare parts to cover the needs of the water/wastewater system for at least two years. Remote Maitenance Workers and ANTHC have programs which can assist the water/wastewater utility with repair, technical assistance, purchasing materials and equipment if needed.