Quarterly Report: 2012, July - September (Q1), Kivalina

Margaret Hansen  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Agreement Date:
City of Kivalina 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
Wells have proven unsuccessful in Kivalina. Water is drawn from the Wulik River via a 3-mile surface transmission line and is stored in a 700,000-gallon raw water tank. It is then treated and stored in a 500,000-gallon steel tank. Residents haul water from this tank. One-third of the residents have tanks, which provide running water for the kitchen, but homes are not fully plumbed. The school and clinic have individual water and sewer systems. Residents haul their own honeybuckets to bunkers. A new landfill and honeybucket disposal site was completed. The business plan is completed. They had started work on wastewater treatment plant this last summer but ran across some human remains and artifacts so had to bring out an archeologist which slowed project down so only got the foundation and bin walls framed before they ran out of funding. Construction is approximately 50% complete. ANTHC and the city applied for an $850,000 CDBG grant but it fell below the funding line. ANTHC and the tribe submitted an ICDBG grant for supplemental funding. A direct grant to USDA has also been prepared and submitted. The Water Treatment Plant Upgrade project is complete. In addition, funding from the State of Alaska FY 2012 Captial Budget for a $150,000 sanitation improvements master plan was approved and the study will begin in 2012.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
On August 10, Nome RUBA staff traveled to Kivalina to provide training and assistance to the mayor and staff on reading financial reports, understanding their RUBA management assessment, and how to do a utility rate study. In reviewing their FY11 certified financial statement (CFS), RUBA staff explained water plant and washeteria revenues and expenditures, illustrating that the city subsidized the water plant by more than $100,000. RUBA staff advised the utility to increase rates, gave examples of possible decreases to expenses, and assisted in writing a letter to the school district raising their rate, with supporting documents that tracked the school's water usage. RUBA staff assisted the administrator in revising monthly financial reports, after reviewing debit card transactions from reconciled bank statements. RUBA advised the community to examine store revenues and expenses, after noting that the store was subsidized by approximately $13,000 in the last year. RUBA staff met with the mayor and the water plant operator, regarding filling water tanks so that they do not run out of water which happened last spring. They plan to begin pumping water into the 500,000 gallon tank upon receiving clearance from the Department of Environmental Conservation regarding an unexplained orange sunstance found in the river.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff sent an email to let Kivalina staff know RUBA staff was available to provide training and assistance to the council and staff. However, RUBA staff has not received any requests at this time. Staff will continue to request for the information needed in order for them to come into compliance with the RUBA assessment.
Essential Indicators:
14 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
10 of 27
Total Score:
24 of 54


Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No All revenues and expenses for the utility are listed in the utility budget.
No 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.
No 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.
No A monthly manager's report is prepared.
No Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
Staff has requested numerous times but have not received any monthly financial reports for the last six months.

Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No The utility has adopted a collection policy and actively follows it.
No 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.
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
Because RUBA still has not received any monthly financial reports and minutes showing that the council approved them, RUBA cannot see if they are following their collection policy or that they are billiing customers on a regular basis. They utilize quickbooks now for all their acounting needs tracking accounts receivables, payables, payroll and payroll files, records incoming money and how it was spent. Although they have adopted a budget which they use as a chart of accounts it is unknown that they are completing bank reconciliations nor can I say they have a purchasing system to check against their budget without those financial reports.

Tax Problems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No 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.
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 still uses quickbooks which accurately tracks, report tax liabilities but have not received a tax authorization form back from the Internal Revenue Service to determine if they are current in filing tax reports and making deposits timely. In reviewing the Tax Lien publication, They still owe $136,735 from past liability they are paying under a payment plan with the IRS.

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.
No 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
According to AML/JIA are in compliance and have been issued new insurance coverage for the year. There has been no changes to their personnel policies that included an adequate hiring process which had been reviewed by the Northwest Arctic Borough Lawyer when passed . All job descriptions are current which they tie into their job evaluations. There has been no turnover so all the files have in the information as reviewed before but no evaluations have been completed as known.

Organizational Management

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The entity that owns the utility is known; the entity that will operate the utility is set.
No 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.
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.
No The policy making body meets as required.
No The utility complies with the open meeting act for all meetings.
Organizational Management Comments
The city council is the known entity who operates the utility as adopted by ordinance. Without being able to review monthly financial reports it is unknown if they are active in policy making or that they are enforcing policy. They have a staff of two, who has worked for the city for over five years, in the office both sharing bookkeeping duties. Their operator is certified. They have adopted an organizational chart that reflects the current structure but it is unknow without financial reports and minutes of meetings whether or not they meet as required or complies with the open meetings act.

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
No 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.
No Utility facilities have not suffered any major problems/outages due to management issues that are unresolved.
No The utility is operating at the level of service that was proposed.
No 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
Their main operator is still certified for water distribution OIT and Water Treatment OIT and plans to attend the next training in Kotzebue. The alternate has those certifications as well including wastewater collection and wastewater treatment who follows their preventative maintenance plan for their facilities. It is unknown if the administrator receives a monthly O and M report or routinely spot checks the facilities nor whether or not they hold safety meetins. They have suffered a major problem by running out of water and put on boil water notice. Traditionally, water is pumped from the river starting at the begginning of July. The administrator reported that she could not fill the last four feet of water in the storage tank last summer because of the water quality. The city has completed their CCR and is not on the SNC list.