Quarterly Report: 2013, July - September (Q1), Hoonah

Lynn Kenealy  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
First Class City 
Agreement Date:
City of Hoonah 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
Hoonah is a Tlingit community located on the northeast shore of Chichagof Island, 40 air miles west of Juneau. Water is derived from Gartina Creek, treated, and piped to all homes and facilities. A water treatment facility was completed in October 1998. Piped wastewater is processed in a wastewater treatment plant. Ninety-eight percent of homes are fully plumbed. The city provides garbage collection services once a week. The Inside Passage Electrical Company operates three diesel-fueled generators in Hoonah. Electricity is provided by Inside Passage Electric Cooperative.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
This quarter, Juneau RUBA staff has assisted Hoonah city staff with numerous questions regarding elections, pertinant to the water utility as the city council is the decision-making body for the wate rutility. Some elections topics have included the appointment of elections judges, prohibition of political persuasian near polling entrances, and requirements for amending candidacy declaration deadlines. There have also been questions pertaining to meeting quorum and majority voting. The city was found to owe the IRS $122 in federal taxes as of July, 2012, but with the information provided by RUBA staff, the city was able to clear up the issue, and is now in compliance with all tax requirements. RUBA staff also assisted in ensuring the city completed its National Forest Receipts application in time to receive this funding for the year. The anticipated $300,000 assists the city in subsidizing the cost of it water utility, and is vital to the functioning of the city government. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
The community has previously met all essential and sustainable indicators of the RUBA Assessment. RUBA staff will continue to offer assistance in other areas as well to improve Hoonah's utility management practices.
Essential Indicators:
26 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
27 of 27
Total Score:
53 of 53


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
The City of Hoonah's fiscal year follows the calendar year January 1 to December 31. On February 15, 2011, the Hoonah City Council adopted a detailed, balanced, and realistic FY11 budget. The budget includes general government operation, community services departments, and enterprise funds. The City of Hoonah provides financial reports including a budget sheet, and revenues and expenditures reports comparing revenues and expenditures to the budgetted amount, including information regarding the precentage of the fiscal year lapsed. Different projects and programs are budgetted and accounted for individually. For instance, water operations are discussed in a 'water fund', where revenues include 'water revenue', 'late charges', and 'water hookup fee'; and expendituers include an extensive list of applicable operating costs. Presently, revenues exceed expenditures by $2,828.86. The finance committee of the council meets once a month with the utility bookkeeper to review financial reports and current budget information. The vice-mayor brings the information to the rest of the council at their regular monthly meeting. The council received financial information in their monthly meeting packets, including a register of expenses and revenues. The city purchases its power from the Inside Passage Electric Cooperative (IPEC) and is current on all electricity bills through December 2011. Electricity accounts for approximately 8% of the overall costs associated with operating the water and wastewater utilities in Hoonah. The community has a bulk fuel facility owned by Hoonah Trading Company which maintains propane, gasoline, and diesel storage tanks sufficient to meet the community's needs. Hoonah Trading receives its fuel shipments from Delta Western about every two to three weeks. The city has a 'keep full' contract with Hoonah Trading with adequate funds budgeted for fuel purchases. Hoonah Trading Post reports no problems with keeping up with fuel needs in the community. In recent years, utility revenue projections exceeded expenditures and the city did not need to subsidize the utility with interfund transfers from the general fund. In the FY11 budge the city has provided for interfund transfers totaling $80,481 to balance the water, sewer, and garbage collection budgets. This interfund transfer is approximately 40% less than the transfers made in FY10. Hoonah's financial reports show the YTD water revenues to be higher than anticipated in the budget. The City provides water, wastewater, and solid waste utility services to the local population for the following combined fees (including sales tax): -Regular residential: $122.26 per month -Senior citizen residential: $74.30 per month There is also a metered rate structure for large volume users which include Hoonah City Schools, Hoonah Cold Storage, and Point Sophia.

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 Hoonah has adopted and follows a collections policy as detailed in Title 13 of the Hoonah Municipal Code. RUBA staff observed the city's collections policy in effect as city staff provided maintenance workers with a list of delinquent accounts to be disconnected. The collection policy establishes a $5.00 late fee and a simple interest charge of 1 percent per month for all unpaid accounts 20 days or more in arrears. This interest charge exceeds the Alaska statutory limit of 10.5 percent per year. For those accounts that continue to be unpaid, the city terminates utility service 10 days after giving written notice and an opportunity for a public hearing. When service is terminated, a $30.00 disconnection fee and a $30.00 reconnect fee are assessed. Restoration of service after discontinuance for nonpayment of bills is made only after payment of current and past due charges and payment of reconnect fees have been made. In addition, customers having their service reconnected after discontinuance are required to provide a $100.00 deposit on top of the initial water and sewer deposit. The city bills customers on a monthly basis for services received during the preceding month. Payments are due immediately upon receipt of the monthly statement. If payments are not received by the last business day of the month, the entire unpaid balance is considered delinquent. Utility bills list charges for water, wastewater, and solid waste services separately in addition to the prior month's account balance. This practice is now consistent with Hoonah Municipal Code 13.04.030, which requires each utility service to be listed separately. Caselle accounting software is used in Hoonah's accounting system. The Caselle software was specifically designed for municipal and utility applications and incorporates several integrated and expandable modules for general fund accounting, utility billing and control, and payroll. The accounts payable module issues checks, manages vendor information and interfaces with requisitions, purchase orders, and general ledger modules to enable full encumbrance accounting. Caselle's accounts receivable module maintains customer account and payment information. It also documents customer payments and reports past due accounts. Hoonah's Caselle software meets payroll reporting requirements for Alaska and provides annual IRS Circular E updates. Additional accounting procedures include the accounting technician completing monthly bank reconciliations and reports. A purchase order system is used for all purchases that requires prior approval by the mayor or council depending on the purchase amount. The utility bookkeeper reports that all approved purchases are compared to budgeted amounts. If necessary, budget amendments are formally adopted.

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.
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
The City of Hoonah uses Caselle accounting software to calculate, track, and report its payroll liabilities. RUBA staff verified on September 10, 2012, that Hoonah is current in its tax payments to the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. The IRS confirmed on 09/12/12 that the City of Hoonah is in compliance with federal employment and excise tax filing requirements, and has no Tax Lien at this time. The city will owe $504.94 at the end of the current quarter from previous periods, but is aware of this matter.

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
RUBA staff verified on September 4, 2012, that the city currently carries workers' compensation insurance through AMLJIA. The policy covers work-related accidents and occupational diseases up to the Alaska statutory limit for each occurrence. A copy of the workers' compensation insurance policy is posted in accordance with state statute at the city hall, the water treatment plant, and the public works shop. The City of Hoonah has a well established and well-implemented personnel management system including personnel policy handbook adopted by resolution by the utility's governing body. Every employee is required to submit a signed statement that they have read and understand this handbook. The city's written hiring procedure is detailed in Chapter 3.48 of the municipal code. Job descriptions are up to date and the personnel files are well organized with all necessary employee documents. The city provides annual evaluations and ample professional training opportunities for all employees.

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
Hoonah residents are aware that the city owns and operates the water, wastewater, and solid waste utilities. The city council is active in enforcing the utility policies adopted in Chapter 13 of the HMC. The mayor and city administrative staff are trained in the organizational and fiscal management of the utility. The city/utility clerk has undertaken training in records retention, drafting municipal acts, parliamentary procedure, and the posting of meeting notices. The city's treasurer attended the RUBA 32-hour Financial Management for Rural Utilities training in Ketchikan August 15-19. Members of the utility's governing body also participated in various RUBA trainings, including the eight-hour elected officials training offered in Hoonah on December 1-2, 2011. The utility operators have been certified at the appropriate levels to operate the city's level-2 water treatment and level-1 water distribution, wastewater collection, and wastewater treatment facilities. The city clerk and city administrator were both registered to attend a RUBA UTM Utility Clerk training in Juneau, April 2-6, 2012, but were not able to attend. They are interested in any future training opportunities. The city has adopted an organizational chart that reflects the current structure, the city council meets as required, and the city clerk properly posts meeting notices in accordance with Alaska's 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
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
Hoonah's water and wastewater utility staff consists of four utility operators as well as a public works supervisor who is responsible for overall utility operations. Three of the operators are certified with the following endorsements: The utility operator Ronny Roberts: Wastewater Collection 2 Exp. 12/31/14 Wastewater Treatment 2 Exp. 12/31/14 Water Distribution 2 Exp. 12/31/14 Water Treatment 2 Exp. 12/31/14 The utility operator Billy Miller: Wastewater Collection 1 Exp. 12/31/13 Wastewater Treatment 1 Exp. 12/31/13 Water Treatment 1 Exp. 12/31/13 Water Distribution 1 Exp. 12/31/13 The operators maintain a preventive maintenance plan for the sanitation facilities contained within the utility operations manual. The lead water operator and public works supervisor communicate with each other in-person on a daily basis. The lead operator also maintains a written log of maintenance activities and concerns. The public works supervisor prepares monthly written reports and conducts facilities 'spot checks' to verify that maintenance items are being completed. The public works supervisor has reported to RUBA staff that the utility retains a safety manual and holds safety meetings as part of the AMLJIA risk management program. The public works supervisor has also reported that the water utility is operating at the proposed level of service. Neither the water nor wastewater utility has suffered any major problems or outages due to management issues. The water utility completes and distributes its Community Confidence Report (CCR) and is not on the EPA's Significant Non-Compliance List. On top of these safety measures, the water operators also maintain an adequate level of tools, supplies, and spare parts and manage the stock through an inventory control list and a critical spare parts list.