Quarterly Report: 2012, 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:
7/26/2012 
Community Sanitation Overview:
The City of Mekoryuk has a population of about 215 and manages the water treatment plant and washeteria. In the 1970s the community had an underground piped water system installed that failed due to winter freeze ups. Later the city received an early version of the Cowater Flush Tank and Haul? water and wastewater systems which is still being used in ninety-six homes and eleven commercial establishments. Homes do not have washers and less than half city residences have working baths or showers. Therefore, the washeteria is used by nearly all city residents. The city has a nine million gallon lined reservoir, a hundred and twenty-five thousand gallon water storage tank, and a 4.2 acre wastewater lagoon. The Lower Kuskokwim School District has its own well but uses the city's wastewater lagoon. The city would like to be considered for funding for a piped water and wastewater system.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
On June 18-20, 2012 Bethel regional office staff visited the community to conduct a RUBA assessment. Many of the findings that will be included in the city's forthcoming assessment are included in this quarterly update. While conducting the assessment, Bethel RUBA staff also reviewed the city's FY13 budget and suggested changes, created a new organization chart for the city, and attended a city council meeting. During the council meeting RUBA staff was asked for advice on several matters related to city business. On the second day of the on-site visit Bethel staff was invited to meet with leaders of the Native Village of Mekoryuk. The tribal leaders were interested in the specifics of the RUBA assessment and how the tribe might be able to work with the city on improving the community's water and wastewater system.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Bethel staff will be working with the municipality's administrative staff to bring the city's RUBA essential and sustainable indicators into compliance.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
19 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
15 of 26
Total Score:
34 of 52

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
No 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.
No A monthly manager's report is prepared.
N/A Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
A copy of the City of Mekoryuk's FY12 operating budget and accompanying ordinance adopted on June 13, 2011 is on file at the Bethel regional office and it appears to be balanced and realistic. Minutes from a council meeting held on May 31, 2012 were provided for this report. The May minutes mention city council motioning to accept monthly financial reports from April and May of 2012. However, the city's administrator only provided Bethel RUBA staff with a monthly financial report containing the city's revenues and expenditures through April 2012. The spirit of the monthly financial report essential indicator is that financial reports are reviewed by the council on monthly basis, and minutes from council meetings are submitted to RUBA regional offices documenting the council's review of the financial reports. The documentation the city has provided for the past two quarters does not comply with the RUBA monthly financial report essential indicator. A July 12, 2012 phone conversation with Alaska Village Electric Cooperative (AVEC) indicated that the city was current on all its electric accounts. On June 18, 2012 the administrator indicated the city had enough heating fuel on hand to cover the city's needs through July of 2012. The city will be purchasing fuel this summer when the community receives its annual bulk fuel delivery and has made allocations for the purchase in their FY13 budget. The city's FY12 budget does not have a repair and replacement line item for the water and wastewater department.

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.
No 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
No 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 Bethel regional office has an unsigned copy of the City of Mekoryuk's Flush Tank Haul and Water Haul Tank System Ordinance 94.04 on file. The city needs to provide the Bethel regional office verification that the ordinance has been adopted. A subsequent ordinance 09-03 Mekoryuk Water, Wastewater and Washeteria adopted on August 10, 2009 established the city's current rates for water and wastewater hauls. The city has established an undocumented policy that if a residential account for water and wastewater services has a balance over $79.30 (the cost of two water or wastewater hauls) the city will not provide the next haul until the balance is paid down by $39.65 or $32.50 for seniors. The city administrator indicated that invoices are sent out to water and wastewater customers on a monthly basis and provided an example of an invoice. However, due to irregularities in a June 14, 2012 accounts receivable aging report provided for the RUBA assessment, it could not be determined whether the policy is enforced. Therefore, judging from the undocumented policy (mentioned above), it does not appear that the city is enforcing Section 1.9 Payment Procedures of Ordinance 94.04 which states 'Customers shall pay for deliveries at the time they order water from the city'. When cash is received for utility payments, the customer receives a receipt and the transaction is entered into QuickBooks. The city did not provide RUBA staff with a chart of accounts. On April 3, 2012 the city administrator worked with the RUBA QuickBooks contractor, who provided on-site assistance to reconcile the city's recent bank statements.

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.
No 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
June 15, 2012 fax correspondence from IRS Taxpayer Advocate states that the city has significant outstanding 941 taxes from the fourth quarter of 2010 through the first quarter of FY 2012. A June 15, 2012 email correspondence from Department of Labor's Anchorage office indicates that the City of Mekoryuk is compliant in making deposits and filing its Employment Security Tax reports through March 31, 2012. The city is not listed on the March-April 2012 LIEN WATCH: A Review of Small Community Liens. Therefore, due to the city's outstanding federal 941 tax liabilities the 'Tax Problems' essential indicator that states 'The utility is current on making tax deposits' is found deficient.

Personnel System

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility has a posted workers compensation insurance policy in effect.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
No 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.
No 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.
No The utility has personnel folders on every employee that contain at least: I-9, Job Application and Letter of Acceptance.
No 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 10, 2012 query done on the Department of Labor's Workers Compensation employer database indicates that the city has workers compensation insurance for its employees through Alaska Municipal League Joint Insurance Association. A copy of City of Mekoryuk Utility Policies and Procedures (the city's personnel policy) revised on August 10, 2009 is electronically filed at the Bethel regional office. However, RUBA staff is waiting for the city administrator to provide documentation that the policy has been adopted by city council. Besides city council members, the city of Mekoryuk has about 12 employees. On June 18, 2012 Bethel RUBA staff reviewed three of the city's employee personnel files. None of the three folders had the employee's application or a letter of acceptance and one of them did not have an I-9.

Organizational Management

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No 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.
No 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 Bethel regional office has an unsigned copy of the City of Mekoryuk's Flush Tank Haul and Water Haul Tank System Ordinance 94.04 on file. The city needs to provide the Bethel regional office verification that the ordinance has been adopted. Ordinance 2012-03 Mekoryuk Washeteria Increase adopted on June 18, 2012 established rates for washeteria services. The City of Mekoryuk's water treatment operator has provisional water distribution and water treatment certificates that expire December 31, 2013 and is working toward his Class 1 certifications. The city has a Class 1 water treatment facility. During the June 18-20 visit Bethel RUBA staff created an organization chart for city council and their employees. However, the city council now needs to adopt the organization chart and provide documentation of them doing so to the Bethel regional office. The city council is active in the policy making of the utility and attempts to meet at least monthly pursuant to Alaska Title 29. Public notification of meetings and the manner in which they are conducted are in accordance with Alaska's Open Meeting Act or otherwise stated in their local ordinances.

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.
No 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 City of Mekoryuk's water treatment operator has provisional water distribution and water treatment certificates that expire December 31, 2013 and is working toward his Class 1 certifications. The city has a Class 1 water treatment facility. A draft Operation and Maintenance (OM) Manual dated March 2012 is electronically filed at the Bethel regional office. The OM Manual contains a preventative maintenance plan, inventory control and critical spare parts lists. The water operator reports to the city administrator on daily facility 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 2012 Significant Non-Complier (SNC) list.