Quarterly Report: 2011, July - September (Q1), Shungnak

Margaret Hansen  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Agreement Date:
City of Shungnak 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
The City of Shungnak operates the piped water and sewer system. The City Council is the policy making board for the utility. The water infiltration gallery was destroyed by ice several years ago, and needs replacement. A reservoir is intermitently filled from the Kobuk River. A portable pump fills a 200,000-gallon steel storage tank through 1,110' of buried arctic pipe. Currently, the City has a new 200,000 gallon tank connected to the new water treatment plant. Groundwater wells have proven unsuccessful; however, they are still drilling to find a new groundwater source. Piped water and sewer services are provided to 53 homes (those at the top of the bluff), clinic, school, and community building. Shungnak has a six-inch buried gravity sewage main, which drains into a small, diked lake one-half mile northwest of the city. The sewer main, lift station, and manholes have been replaced last summer. The effluent is chlorinated before discharge. The City worked with the local IRA to complete the fencing around the landfill. The city purchased the fence and the IRA paid workers to install it. ANTHC found funds to complete the new sewage lagoon last summer. The new water tank and treatment plant projects are completed. The City Administrator would like to have a new master plan completed.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
RUBA staff traveled to Shungnak September 1-3, 2010 to provide financial management training to the city administrator. The administrator has not been able to complete monthly finance reports which is one of the essential management indicators required to receive sanitation funding. While on site, RUBA staff also assisted with research of tax issues as the city's name appeared on the recent lien watch which created another deficient essential indicator. RUBA staff and the city administrator called insurance providers for quotes to obtain coverage for employees and city facilities. RUBA staff also researched a legislative grant appropriated for dumpsite improvements, a disputed telephone bill, a land issue, and the Alaska Energy Authority weatherization grant. It was also discovered that the city was awarded $31,500 to repair community buildings which will be used in part for the water treatment building. The administrator took a large amount of sick leave and was unable to complete all tasks on the work plan laid out by RUBA staff to correct deficient indicators. RUBA staff will monitor progress, request documentation and change the indicators as proof is received. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Kotzebue RUBA will plan on traveling to Shungnak to update their assessment within the next 6 months.
Essential Indicators:
21 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
22 of 26
Total Score:
43 of 52


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.
No 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
The city passed a balanced realistic budget listing all revenues and expenses for the utility which they report on monthly to the council. While the administrator was on sick leave off and on the last two months, she got behind in paying their electric bills which is 60 days past due. Without receipt of her monthly financial reports to date, RUBA cannot say that they are receiving revenues to cover their expenses nor that their revenues or expenses are at a level equal to those budgeted. She meets monthly with the council when she is there providing them with a monthly report. She has not been able to save funds away for repair and replacement costs but has budgeted for minor emergency repairs.

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 a collection policy and actively follows it billing customers monthly. She still manually records all cash receipts, cash disbursements and payroll onto the Northwest Arctic Borough Accounting system ledgers which correctly calculates payroll and keeps their employee file records. She provides to the council an update from customer leders for accounts receivable and receivables. She uses her budget as her chart of accounts which she uses for her monthly financial report reconciling to the bank account monthly. She uses her budget, monthly financial report and any outstanding purchase orders before she request approval for more purchases to make sure the funds are there.

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.
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
She has a manual system that accurately calculates, tracks and reports payroll tax liabilities. RUBA has not received her signed tax authorizations in order to make sure she is in compliance with federal and state taxes.

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 administrator has renewed her insurance changing over to Alaska Municipal League Joint Insurance for a more affordable rate which she posted and in effect until July 2011. The council adopted personnel policies that she had reviewed by AML which includes an hiring process, evaluation process that ties to the job description which she has on file for all employees. The personnel folders contain an I-9 form, their job application and letter of acceptance. She provides orientation, job oversite and evaluations on all employees which she has on file and provides them training opportunities as well.

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 active council is the known entity by ordinance who operates and enforces the policies, adopted the organizational chart meeting monthly complying with the open meetings act. They have an administrator who has been there for over 20 years who handles all the bookkeeping. The operator recently received a certificate for water treatment.

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 operator is actively working towards certification but follows the preventative maintenance plan who reports to the administrator and the council with his operations and maintenance report. He also maintains an inventory and critical spare parts list he provides to the administrator which she budgets for every year. No known safety meetings have been held as yet but they have not suffered any major problems so they are operating at the level proposed. She has distributed the Consumer Confidence Report and is not on the Significant Non-Complier list.