Quarterly Report: 2011, April - June (Q4), Mekoryuk

Community:
Mekoryuk 
Staff:
Fred Broerman  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of Mekoryuk 
Population:
191  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
8/3/2011 
Community Sanitation Overview:
The City of Mekoryuk manages the water and sewer utility. In the 1970s the community had an underground piped water system installed that failed due to winter freeze ups. Later the city received one of the first flush tank and haul systems in rural Alaska which is still being used in ninety-six homes and eleven commercial establishments. The city would like to be considered for funding for a piped water and sewer system. There is a water treatment and storage system, 9,000,000 gallon lined reservior, water treatment plant, and a 125,000 gallon water storage tank, a washeteria with laundry facilities, public showers and a 4.2 acre sewage lagoon. The Lower Kuskokwim School District has its own well but uses the city's sewage lagoon.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Bethel RUBA staff contacted the city by email on July 1, 2010, September 21, 2010, December 21, 2010, March 25, 2011 and June 14, 2011 requesting documents needed for verification of RUBA essential indicators. At the time of this writing the city has not provided the Bethel RUBA office with several items that were requested. Therefore, the city is no longer in compliance for several essential indicators until documents needed for verification can be provided. Bethel RUBA staff visited Mekoryuk twice during the second quarter of 2011. From April 11-15, 2011 RUBA staff assisted preparing a financial report for a council meeting which focused on reviewing the city's financial situation. Bethel RUBA staff reviewed several versions of the city profit and loss statements. Due to irregularities of how data had been entered into QuickBooks, it was decided to create an Excel spread sheet that would present the city's financial data from the beginning of FY 2011 in an easy to understand format. The final spreadsheet included financial data for each month of the year, a detailed accounting of each department's expenditures, and a comparison of revenues with expenditures for a comprehensive bottom line for each month and year to date. Several hours were spent working closely with the city administrator as she queried and interpreted QuickBooks data so it could be entered into appropriate item categories in the new monthly financial report. At an April 14, 2011 council meeting, RUBA staff pointed out the report's features and explained where comparisons could be made. The report served as a segue to explain some of the 'best business practices' that the RUBA program promotes and to suggest that the council request an assessment in the near future. The financial report was well received and the council unanimously agreed to have a RUBA assessment conducted. After the meeting council members were complimentary of the presentation and very interested in working towards RUBA compliance. From June 6-8, 2011 Bethel staff assisted the city in applying for FY 2012 Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) and Community Revenue Sharing funds. This was the first time the city's new administrator had applied for these funds. Because several of the council members were relatively new to city government Bethel staff was given opportunity to explain PILT and Certified Financial Statement resolutions and the budget ordinance process.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff will attempt to conduct a RUBA assessment.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
22 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
27 of 27
Total Score:
49 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.
No 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 of Mekoryuk adopted its FY11 budget on October 4, 2011 using the format provided in the State of Alaska City Budget Manual. The city has a detailed multi-month financial report for city council review. However, the administrative staff has not provided at least three months of meeting minutes that document that the financial reports has been reviewed and approved during council meetings. A June 22, 2011 email correspondence from Alaska Village Electric Cooperative (AVEC) indicated that the city current on their electric accounts.

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 City keeps records in the computer as soon as a financial transaction is complete. They use Windows XP and QuickBooks Pro 09. They also record receipts. When cash is received, the customer receives a receipt and it is recorded. Purchases are first checked to see if sufficient funds are available. If the request is approved, a check is cut and the invoice and check stub are stapled together and filed.

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.
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
A July 17, 2011 fax correspondence from the IRS indicated that the city has not filed federal tax reports for the fourth quarter of 2010 and the first quarter of 2011. A June 17, 2011 email correspondence from Department of Labor's Anchorage office indicated that the City of Mekoryuk is compliant with its Employment Security Taxes through March 31, 2011. The city was not listed on the March-April 2011 LIEN WATCH: A Review of Small Community Liens.

Personnel System

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No 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
A July 17, 2011 query done on the Department of Labors Worker's Compensation employer database indicates that the City of Mekoryuk does not have worker's compensation insurance for its employees. Job descriptions were provided for the city personnel. The personnel policies are used to manage employee issues. A vacancy is advertised for 15 days locally when one is open. Hiring and promotions are based on merit and ability. Personnel folders contain I-9's, job applications and letter of acceptance. There is a 90-day probationary period for new hires. The Personnel Policy has been reviewed and is being revised.

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.
No 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 of Mekoryuk has hired the IRA Council's previous executive director to be the city s full-time administrator. In early May, Mekoryuk's city council members made the decision to dismiss the washeteria supervisor who had worked for the city for over 20 years after they and previous councils had warned the employee numerous times. As a result of the dismissal, the city's water plant did not operate for a few days in late May until new water and sewer staff could be hired. Council moved forward by hiring new staff and arranging for on-site training and certification tests for water and sewer employees in late June by Tim Anderson from University of Alaska Southeast. Certification test results were not available at the time of this writing. The city is active in the policy making of the utility.

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
In early May, Mekoryuk's city council members made the decision to dismiss the washeteria supervisor who had worked for the city for over 20 years after they and previous councils had warned the employee numerous times. As a result of the dismissal, the city's water plant did not operate for a few days in late May until new water and sewer staff could be hired. Council moved forward by hiring new staff and arranging for on-site training and certification tests for water and sewer employees in late June by Tim Anderson from University of Alaska Southeast. Certification test results were not available at the time of this writing. Water maintenance plan for existing water and sewer facilities was provided. The water operators report to the city administrator on daily facilities operations. A copy of the city's 2010 Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) is electronically filed at the Bethel RUBA office along with a certification form signed by the city administrator on June 28, 2011 indicating the CCR was distributed and posted in the community. The city's water treatment facility is not on the April 2011 Significant Non-Complier (SNC) list.