Quarterly Report: 2010, January - March (Q3), Noorvik

Community:
Noorvik 
Staff:
Margaret Hansen  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of Noorvik 
Population:
600  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
5/10/2010 
Community Sanitation Overview:
Water is pumped from the Kobuk River to the water treatment/utility building, and stored in a tank. From there, a pressurized circulating system distributes water in utilidors. Groundwater wells have proven unsuccessful. Noorvik has a vacuum sewer system in which waste is carried by air instead of water. Vacuum pressure pumps the sewage to the 60,000-gal. collection and treatment plant. The system requires special toilets and water valves which collect wastewater from the sinks, toilets and showers. Over 100 homes, the schools and businesses are served. Funds have been requested to connect and plumb the remaining 16 unserved homes on the south side of town and along River Road. A new landfill and access road is under development. Funds have also been requested to construct a multi-purpose facility, including a new washeteria, recreation center, Head Start, day care center, a restaurant, Native Crafts production and a food processing plant. The community is interested in using wind energy.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Kotzebue RUBA staff traveled to Noorvik January 25-29, 2010 at the city's request to provide needed training for the new administrator on year-end tax reporting issues and financial management. It was discovered that the 2008 W-3 had not been filed along with the W-2's, and that the W-2's were sent to the employees but not to the Social Security Administration. The 2008 W-3s were completed, and city staff was shown how to prepare a worksheet to ensure the Form 941's, payroll journal and W-2's all balance. The fourth quarter 941 had to be amended and then showed a credit due to the City of Noorvik. The 2009 year-end tax worksheet was then balanced with the Form 941's. In addition, an Excel monthly financial report format was completed to provide the council with much needed reports on spending in comparison to their budget. RUBA staff also met with the water plant operator to discuss operating policies, water testing and landfill permitting with DEC and advised the administrator and a council member on an employment issue and the Open Meetings Act.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff plans to travel back to Noorvik in May to provide training and assistance on her first budget and other financial management issues.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
21 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
17 of 26
Total Score:
38 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.
No 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.
No YTD revenues are at a level equal to or above those budgeted.
No YTD expenditures are at a level equal to or below those budgeted.
Yes A monthly manager's report is prepared.
N/A Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
They have passed a balanced realistic budget showing all revenues and expenses for the utility but since RUBA's visit to Noorvik only the month of July monthly financial report has been done to date due to staff turnover. She just hired her fourth bookkeeper this quarter. They are current in paying all electric bills and has received a years supply of fuel. Because no document other than a profit and loss statement has been received, it it unknown if they are receiving enough revenues to cover their operating expenses or that YTD revenues and expenses are equal to those budgeted. It is unknown whether or not they do need a budget amendment as well. The City Administrator does provide the council with a managers report at their monthly meeting.

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.
No 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
During my review of their accounts receivable system, they are billing customers on a regular basis following their collection policy. They are utilizing quickbooks now with an accounts receivable system in place to track customers accounts. Quickbooks also provides them with an accurate accounts payable system, payroll system to calculate payroll, cash receipts system and a cash disbursements system. They utilize their budget to categorize their chart of accounts in a usable manner. They use a purchasing system that requires approval prior to purchase comparing to budgeted amounts. They have not been able to keep up with bank reconciliations at this time.

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.
No 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 utility uses quickbooks now to accurately calculate, track and report payroll tax liabilities Although they are current in filing their tax reports, we found that deposits were not make for part of the third quarter so they owe $10,799.00. The January-February Lien Watch reports IRS 941 liens for a total of $10,799 with no know payment plan at this time.

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.
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.
No 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
According to AML/JIA, the City of Noorvik has paid their insurance in full and have posted their notice in three places within the City office building. This city is still using their old personnel policies that have not been approved by an attorney or AML. The new administrator has requested samples of AML/JIA in hopes that the council will revise their very old policy. They do have updated job descriptions I have on file. While there I reviewed the personnel folders and found that they follow their evaluation process, has an adequate hiring process, with a probationary period for new hires inlcuding orientation, job training and overssight. They do have I-9 completed forms in their files with their application but no letters of acceptance.

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.
No The utility has an adequately trained manager.
No 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
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 council is the known entity that operates the utility who is active in policy making of the utility and enforces it. They have adopted the necessary ordinances to give it authority and follows the adopted organizational chart meeting monthly as required. They have hired an new administrator who still needs more training on her job duties. The hired another bookkeeper recently who also needs training in quickbooks. They still enjoy their certified operator of three years who continues to attend any training he needs to keep his certification.

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".
No 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
This operator is certified in wastewater collection and treatment 1, water treatment and distribution 1. He continues to attend all course offerings in Kotzebue to keep up his certification. He is doing a very good job of following his preventative maintenance plan keeping up with his inventory and critical spare parts list. He reports to the city administrator on a daily basis who spot checks his work. Has not held any safety meetings this last quarter but has not suffered any major problems that are unresolved. They are operating at the level proposed reporting to the council monthly. They have submitted their CCR. They are currently on the SNC list. System's only SWTR violations are for not submitting the IFT page of the operator report for August and December 2009.