Quarterly Report: 2007, January - March (Q3), Upper Kalskag

Community:
Upper Kalskag 
Staff:
Patrick Charlie  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of Upper Kalskag 
Population:
276  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
5/1/2007 
Community Sanitation Overview:
The City of Upper Kalskag operates the piped sewer system. The City Council is the policy making board for the utility. As of November 1997, nearly all homes, the school and the store have individual wells with potable water and indoor plumbing. A new piped gravity sewage system with lifts stations, force main and lagoon now serves over 60 households and facilities. The school has requested funds for a new septic tank and leachfield, or connection to the community sewer system. The landfill is located between Upper and Lower Kalskag. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
On January 10, 2007, Rural Utility Business Advisors from Anchorage and Bethel met with Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation-Rural Utility Coopeartive staff in Bethel to complete a re-assessment of management indicators for the City of Upper Kalskag sewer utility. YKHC-RUC staff provided documentation supporting the conclusions in this report. Specific documents used in this report may be reviewed in the Bethel RUBA office. All essential and sustainable indicators are met at this time. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Monitor RUC reports and provide assistance when requested.
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
Monthly finance and budget reports are prepared by RUC as two separate documents. RUC prepares and sends out (to the community of a monthly basis) a financial report showing revenues and expenditures for both Upper Kalskag system as well as expenditures for the 'central administration.' This report lists expenses and revenue categories with columns showing 'This Month,' 'Last Month,' and 'Year to Date'and budget. Since the initial assessment in June 2006 and at the recommendation of RUBA, RUC has added a line item for 'Replacement Part Reserve.' Most sanitation funding or regulatory agencies are recommending that utilities show this separately. The Sanitation Business Plan Template requires that utilities account for this separately. The budget process begins with the RUC Manager and Accountant drafting a budget using the previous years actual and next year's projections. Future projects or plans are considered when making the projections. The budget is submitted to YKHC-RUC for board approval. RUC provided a copy of the monthly statement from Alaska Village Electric Coopeartive for the Upper Kalskag utility. RUC pays the utility electric statement promptly and completly each month. Fuel for the utilities is bulk and purchsed bi-annually. the operators self-report fuel consumption. RUC has instigated fuel use efficiency and accountability practices that have substantially lowered consumption and expense in the community.

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 charges flat rates for residential customers. Bills are mailed at the end of each month. Payments of money orders or checks only are sent to a lock box at Wells Fargo who emails a list of daily payments to RUC. Payments of check, cash, money order or credit card may be paid at the RUC office. A hand written receipt is issued at time of payment. RUC uses QuickBooks Pro for accounting practices. Bills are sent at the end of every month. They are considered overdue if unpaid 20 days later. Thirty days after that, the operators are given a list to place pink door hangers alerting the customer that service will be shut off in three days. RUC strictly enforces the three day notice with disconnection of service for non-payment. Payment plans are offered, however, the manager noted that many customers do not honor the payment plan. NSF checks are submitted to a collection agency. Through the MOA, RUC has the authority to change customer rates. The manager and accountant make recommendations to the advisory board who votes to support or not. A vote of support is then sent on to the YKHC Board of Directors for action. The utility has a written purchasing system. An operator submits a purchase request to the manager who then submits the request to administration. Administration checks the budget prior to approval. Approving signatures required for the purchase are based on the amount of the purchase request. The higher the amount, the more signatures are required.

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
A signed Tax Information Release Authorization was provided by the YKHC as the utility is an enterprise system included in the YKHC tax payer EIN number. The IRS deemed the taxpayer in compliance with federal employment tax filings, federal tax deposits and reports and noted that no recorded Notice of Federal Tax Lien has been filed. The State DOL office reports the YKHC is in compliance at this time. Paper time cards are submitted to the YKHC who calculates, tracks, and reports payroll liabilities through a computer system. This tax information pertains to the management of the utility only.

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 utility has a posted worker's comp policy from Alaska National Insurance Company for February 1, 2007 through February 1, 2008. The insurance covers all empyees of RUC including the operators in Upper Kalskag. All RUC employees follow the YKHC adopted personnel policy. This policy was reviewed by an attorney. Employees are at-will hires. An evaluation is performed at 90 days and one year from hire. The blank evaluation form is attached to the position description and presented to the employee upon hire. All new hires attend a corporate orientation for 2 1/2 days in Bethel for instruction regarding company policies, procedures, and department specific orientation. On-site training is also provided. Job openings are posted, with job titles and duties in the village for at least a week if the manager deems expediency is necessary. Native hire and local hire is encouraged when possible. Applications are submitted to YKHC who completes background and reference checks. The personnel policy also allows temporary hires for short term projects. Training opportunities are provided when money allows. YKHC presents four classes per year covering water/wastewater related topics. The Remote Maintenance Worker also presents CEU modules on site.

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
Upper Kalskag signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with YKHC-RUC to operate the utility. YKHC-RUC has an advisory board that meets three times a year to recommend policy and procedures via letters of support to the YKHC Board of Directors. Through the MOA, YKHC has the authority to set rates, ordinances, policies, and procedures for the utility. The RUC Manager is diligent in personally attending city council meeetings of all RUC communities. Recently RUC hired Lee Piper as project manager/accountant. Mr. Piper is responsibile to oversee the accounting procedures for all RUC communities. YKHC finance department tracks and issues payroll. The system has received a certificate of public convenience from the RCA.

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
Copies of operator certification and preventative maintenance plans were submitted and are available upon request. A 'Safety Guidelines for Utility System Opeartor' guide is provided to all operators. Safety training is provided in conjunction with regularly scheduled operations training. The utility has not suffered any major problems/outage due to management issues. YKHC/RUC hires summer interns to complete the CCR reports. An additional assignment to the intern was completion of an inventory control and critical spare parts list. The utility has a large amount of inventory and spare parts on hand and have suffered no loss of service due to lack of parts. With the stable labor force and frequent RMW on-site support, maintenance requirements are minimal. It is however, recommended that a written inventory control and spare parts list be adopted for unforseen repari and maintenance needs.