Quarterly Report: 2008, July - September (Q1), Elim

Melissa Taylor  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Agreement Date:
City of Elim 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
Water is derived from a well and is treated. BIA and HUD housing, and water and sewer systems built by PHS in 1974, have provided residents wth piped water and sewer, indoor water heaters and plumbing and in-home washers and dryers. Waste flows out to a sewage treatment plant with ocean outfall. The landfill is not permitted. The City needs a new water source, since water shortages occur and to replace cracked PVC pipes. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
On September 10-11, 2007 Nome RUBA staff traveled to Elim to complete a RUBA assessment of management capacity. Most elements considered essential for utility management are in place yet several essential indicators were found to be deficient. While a budget was adopted, as a fiscal plan it lacks the level of detail necessary for good financial management. Financial reports that track budget performance are not created, further limiting the policy making body's ability to make good management decisions. The utility also has past due IRS debt, however, efforts to resolve this issue with a payment plan are under way, and the utility is compliant with current filing and deposit requirements.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Nome RUBA staff has offered technical assistance and training to the City of Elim staff regarding financial matters and ordinance development. RUBA staff continues to be availabe to provide assistance with any essential or sustainable management capacity indicators that are not being met.
Essential Indicators:
21 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
21 of 27
Total Score:
42 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.
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.
No Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
The City of Elim adopted a FY08 budget appropriations ordinance on June 21, 2007. However, the budget is a three page summary that does not include a detailed account of expenditures. For example, the utility budget states that it will break even by generating $99,800 in revenue and expending the same amount. There is no detail on what the $99,800 has been budgeted for (i.e. Chemicals, equipment, wages, and vehicle maintenance). While the water and sewer utility appears to balance on paper, it is not realistic due to the fact that it is incomplete. The Council does not receive monthly financial reports to monitor the budget and compare budget projections with what is really happening. The City purchased approximately 18,000 gallons of heating fuel at $2.88 per gallon for a total fuel bill of $51,849. the fuel was purchased by NSEDC on the City of Elim's behalf and they have offered alternative payment options that include $4,320 monthly payments or deduction from the City's 2007 Community Benefit Share. Due to lack of financial information, RUBA staff was unable to determine whether or not the utility was generating enough revenues to sustain the utility. RUBA and City staff determined that during the months of June-August 2007 the utility had an 83% residential customer collection rate. The operator provides a detailed written report that is provided to the Council monthly. The City Clerk, who manages City affairs, provides verbal reports to the Council.

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 City of Elim utilizes a combination of manual and computerized financial record keeping systems. The accounting software, QuickBooks Pro 2007 version, is utilized consistently. A NEBS receipt system is utilized to document customer payments and then entered into the computer and on customer cards. The bookkeeper does a wonderful job of entering information into the system. However, the information is not classified by department. The City of Elim recently revised and follows their collection policy; billing is conducted consistently and efficiently.

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 City of Elim is current with State and Federal deposits and reporting. However, they owe the IRS payroll taxes for three quarters in 2005. The Council has approved a plan to repay the IRS with annual State funding allocations. Once a FY06 certified financial statement is completed and sent to the Juneau DCCED office, the City is eligible to receive Community Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) and Federal Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) funds. Combined, the City will reduce its IRS liability significantly. A repayment agreement will need to be signed for the remaining amount.

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
The City of Elim is currently insured by the Alaska Municipal League, Joint Insurance Associateion (AML-JIA) and in good standing for FY2008. A resolution was adopted by the Council stating that the City will pay $2,274.54 a month through April 2008 for the policy. The City of Elim follows their personnel policy and has written job descriptions for all employees. Staff has expressed a desire to update policies and job descriptions as the current ones are outdated. Personnel files consist of all necessary information except for a letter 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.
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 City is the owner of the water and sewer utility. The decision making authority and enforcement of utility policy is vested in the City Council. Chapter 36-Water and Sewer System of the Code of Ordinances outlines the rules and regulations of the utility. A committee of the Council has recently been formed to address utility issues and has expressed interest in RUBA assistance with ordinance amendments. The City Clerk is responsible for utility management. With 20 years of experience, the Clerk is familiar with every aspect of the Water/Sewer utility. The Bookkeeper has successfully completed Utility Financial Management and a QuickBooks class sponsored by the RUBA Program. An organizational chart was not located.

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
The utility operator is certified in water distribution and water treatment at the Operator in Training (OIT) level. He also has provisional certification in wastewater collection and wastewater treatment. In addition to salary, utility operator incentive pay is provided on a monthly basis for water sampling, documenting daily activities, fuel tank and water meter readings, connection and disconnection of homes to the water and sewer system, and safety inspections. The 2006 Consumer Confidence Report was completed and distributed with the assistance of Norton Sound Health Corporation, Office of Environmental Health. At present, the system has returned to compliance with the Surface Water Treatment Rule (SWTR) and meets all regulatory criteria. In partnership with ANTHC, the City has project funding for water treatment plant upgrades, water service line connections, and rehabilitation of water/sewer mainline and service lines.