Quarterly Report: 2009, October - December (Q2), Ruby

Jeremy Johnson  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Agreement Date:
City of Ruby 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
Approximately 65% of residents haul water from the washeteria and use outhouses. Individual wells and septic systems are also used. Construction of a new water source, water treatment plant, washeteria and lagoon was completed in 2006; the new washeteria opened to the public in mid-February 2006. A septic tank pump truck was purchased and delivered to Ruby in summer 2006. Future plans call for construction of a garage for the pump truck. The school operates its own well. Electricity is provided by the City of Ruby, through the Ruby Electric Utility. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
RUBA staff has had a great deal of contact with the community during the 4th quarter 08. Communication with the accounting consultant has occured and we have worked on developing an electric rate formula as well as identifying areas were substantial saving can occur. Previously: communication with the consultant indicated that 'all is well with Ruby, they are coming along nicely' and that as they are approaching the end of the fiscal year they are trying to keep on top of things. The proposed FY09 budget has been received and indicates a net profit; fuel estimates are based on $7 a gallon. The weekend of June 28, 2008 an electric lineman provided a 'tune-up' on the power lines; repairs and upgrades were accomplished through a grant. Ruby electric has had issues with large amounts of line loss so it is anticipated that the tune up will help the utility operate more efficiently. Speaking with the city clerk, she informed RUBA staff that there are two families who are moving to town because of high costs. The City of Ruby currently meet all essential indicators. In the forth quarter of 2006, the city hired a private consultant on a part-time basis to help the City get caught up on its financial recordkeeping and reporting. Since then, the City has made significant progress in addressing its financial recordkeeping and reporting needs. The most progress has occurred with the sustainable indicators, specifically in the area of finances.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff will continue to monitor and assist, and to provide additional on-site training as requested. As the Ruby accounting contractor's schedule allows, a meeting to test a rate setting program will be set.
Essential Indicators:
27 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
19 of 27
Total Score:
46 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
No 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.
No Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
RUBA staff has worked extensively with the city to determine what rate is needed to break even. During the investigation it was determined that the city is paying 75% more for fuel that neighboring communities. That, along with other factors (contact RUBA staff directly for more detail) has contributed to substantially high utility rates. Previously: The city is trying to determine what to raise the electric rates to and inquired about a formula. There is a water rate formula being created by RUBA that may work for electric utilities. RUBA staff is coordinating a meeting with Ruby's local (Fairbanks) accounting contractor for a trial run of the formula. The proposed FY 09 budget projects a net income that should be able to sustain the washeteria. At this time the washeteria class is expected to have a net loss, but, again, the city has adequate reserves to cover operations.

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 water/sewer utility does not provide service to individual customers, therefore does not need to keep track of individual customers. On the other hand, the electric utility has more than 100 customers. The city's accounting consultant has been helping the city clerk set up the accounts receivable system in QuickBooks: the new system should enable the City to maintain more accurate records of electric utility customer accounts.

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
Both the IRS and Department of Labor deem Ruby to be compliant. In 2005 the city received notice from Alaska Division of Retirement and Benefits regarding a very substantial unfunded termination liability following its withdrawal from the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS). The amount due is for future health benefits and unemployment insurance for persons who had been enrolled in PERS while employed by the City of Ruby. The PERS liability remains unpaid, and the PERS issue remains unresolved.

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.
No 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
Not all personnel policies are consistently followed. Policies and job descriptions should be updated and while some job descriptions exist, there is not one for every position; the existing descriptions are adequate. On the employment acceptance letter from the City a probationary period is set.

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 city clerk received Power Cost Equalization training in the spring of 2005; attended a Financial Management for Utility Managers workshop and an Introduction to Utility Management workshop in 2005 in Fairbanks; and has received on site QuickBooks training from RUBA staff and from the city's accounting consultant. Continued financial training for the city clerk is recommended and ongoing with oversight by the contracted bookkeeper.

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 operator uses daily, weekly, and monthly check lists, and submits the completed lists to the city clerk. According to the remote maintenance worker, the operator generally has the necessary spare parts on hand, and is dependable and reliable. The operator has a Water Distribution Level 1 certificate(expires 12/31/10), a Water Treatment Level 1 certificate (expires 12/31/08) and a Wastewater Collection OIT certificate (expires 12/31/09). The operator successfully completed an Introduction to Utility Management training course the third quarter 2007.