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

Brendan Smyth  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Agreement Date:
City of Hughes 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
In 1968, a community water distribution system and individual household septic tanks were constructed. Initially the system worked well, and was expanded in 1973, however, the system froze during 1983 leaving only a few facilities operational. Thirty outhouses were constructed in 1984 to replace the frozen septic systems. Many Hughes residents currently haul treated water from the central watering point. Most homes still use honeybuckets and outhouses. Eleven homes on the North Side of town, plus the school, teacher's apartments, the clinic and the city/tribal offices have piped water and sceptic tanks. Several additional homes are expected to be connected this summer. Preliminary work on a new landfill site, new sewage lagoon, and water treatment improvements is also expected to be completed this year. Electricity is provided by Hughes Power and Light. There is one school in the community, attended by approximately 17 students. A local clinic is located in Hughes, tended by a health aide. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Fairbanks RUBA staff traveled to the community of Hughes on March 30-31, 2010 to conduct a RUBA management assessment of the utility policies and procedures. The assessment went well and was completed in a timely manner with all required documentation received. RUBA staff provided assistance with entering the adopted utility budget in QuickBooks and grant writing procedures. The draft assessment will be presented to Hughes for review and a final assessment will be completed after the ten day review period. All supporting documentation is maintained in the Fairbanks office for review. RUBA staff will continue to communicate with the city administrator and follow up on any lacking areas in the assessment. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff traveled to the community at the end of the third quarter and performed a new RUBA Assessment. RUBA staff will continue to update the assessment as information is provided.
Essential Indicators:
27 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
20 of 27
Total Score:
47 of 54


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.
No 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 utility currently has revenue and expenses listed in the utility budget, though some areas of the budget are out of balance due to the fuel reporting being completed by hand and not entered into the QuickBooks data site. The utility has a budget in place for the utility and the city. Monthly financial reports are completed and presented at every council meeting, and the preparer is present during these meetings to answer any questions asked by the council. The utility is current in paying the bills. The utility currently has fuel on hand and, when necessary, gets fuel deliveries monthly. The utility is receiving revenue from user fees and other sources to cover the operating costs. The utility receives revenue sufficient to cover repair and replacement costs. The YTD Revenues are at a level or above those budgeted while the YTD expenses are above those budgeted, though the fuel sales make up for these budget expenses. A written manager report is presented to the council every month, with the manager being in attendance to answer questions. When talking to the administrator about the monthly council meetings, RUBA learned that the council is active in passing amendments and adopting them when needed. Copies of meeting minutes are available in the Fairbanks office.

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.
No 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 adopted a collection policy and follows it by mailing out and delivering bills the first of each month. The bookkeeper related to RUBA the city uses an accounts receivable system that tracks what customers owe to the city. The accounts payable system is in place though it tracks a limited amount of bills. The payroll system is calculated correctly using the QuickBooks program and the city keeps the required records of the payroll. The cash receipt system in place is used to track revenue from token washeteria sales and other random sales. The utility records how money is spent for the utility keeping track of these expenses in cash receipt books. The city has a chart of accounts in their QuickBooks program that identifies different categories that are easy to understand. Monthly bank reconciliations are completed by the city bookkeeper. The city should work towards writing a purchasing policy and follow the steps outlined in it.

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
The city of Hughes is current on IRS reporting and the city has recently repaid late fees they had previously incurred. The IRS and Department of Labor have both deemed Hughes compliant with tax reporting and filing. Hughes has no recorded liens.

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.
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
Fairbanks RUBA staff viewed the city's workers compensation insurance posted in the office; they have it supplied through AMLJIA good through July 1, 2010. The utility has a personnel policy in place and a copy of the policy is located in the Fairbanks office. The utility has written job descriptions for the different city employment positions. The city conducts personnel evaluations that follow their written job descriptions. They have an adequate hiring process, though the folders for employees only hold payroll information. The utility provides a probationary period for newly hired employees that include evaluations and training opportunities for city staff.

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
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 utility owner is spelled out in the city ordinances as the City of Hughes owning the utility and having them operate it as well. The council meets regularly and gets reports on the utility operations. Fairbanks RUBA staff has copies of council meeting minutes located in the office. The council also enforces the utility policies when necessary. The bookkeeper stated that usually the drastic measures aren't needed after the first few warnings. The utility manager is trained and if more training is required or requested, the council approves the training if funds are available. The bookkeeper is very adequately trained as are the operators. The utility has the necessary ordinances to give authority to operate the utility. The utility does not currently have an organizational chart for people to reference. The policy making body meets monthly and is involved in the utility management. The city complies with all sections of the open meetings act for all meetings.

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.
No The utility maintains an inventory control list.
No The utility maintains a critical spare parts list.
Operation of Utility Comments
The utility operators are trained and actively work towards getting the correct certifications. The utility currently has a preventative maintenance plan set up by their engineer. The manager receives verbal reports from the operator concerning operations and maintenance reports of the utility. The operator also works closely with his machinery and spot checks the area while he is working. The utility does not currently have a safety manual or hold safety meetings. The Hughes facility has not had any problems due to management issues. The utility operates the service at the proposed operating level. The operator provides reports to the manager regularly, letting the manager know what is going on at the time and what may be coming up. The utility completes and distributes a Consumer Confidence Report; a copy of the recent one is on hand in the Fairbanks office. The utility currently is not on the latest Significant Non-Compliance list (February 2010). The utility does not have an inventory or critical spare parts list.