Quarterly Report: 2009, January - March (Q3), Deering

Margaret Hansen  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Agreement Date:
City of Deering 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
The City of Deering operates the piped sewer and water haul system, as well as the central washeteria. The City Council is the policy making body for the utility. Water is derived from the Inmachuk River; it is treated and pumped to a 400,000-gallon insulated storage tank. Residents pay to have water delivered to their homes. The sewage system is a vacuum system that is piped to a lagoon. A new washeteria, water treatment plant, and sewage collection lines are completed. An additional water storage tank was completed in 2006 and upgraded lines from the tanks to the water treatment plant are still planned. The City has a DEC permit for the sewage lagoon, but DEC wants them to update it to reflect design changes made during construction. RUBA is working with the engineer and DEC to allow time for an in depth study to determine whether the system can be fixed, or needs to be replaced.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
RUBA staff talked with the administrator several times because of low water levels in their tank. It was reported that when she lost her operator last fall, they realized that not enough water was pumped into the tank before freeze up. In February, she sent out a notice that folks have to haul their own water but allowed the clinic to continue to use the water that remained in the tank. The school has its own tank which the city contracts to fill in the fall. Most folks go and get ice that they thaw to put into their day tanks to be able to use the sewer system. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Although RUBA staff was not able to confirm dates of travel last qusrter, she is committed to travel end of May to follow up on RUBA assessment.
Essential Indicators:
23 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
25 of 27
Total Score:
48 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.
Yes Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
In reviewing her monthly financial reports, this city is following their budget with no known problems at this time.

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
With only the monthly financial report to review, their are no known problems with accounts receivable or payable. It looks like payroll is being calculated correctly reviewing the 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.
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 uses QuickBooks for payroll and to report payroll tax liabilities. The administrator states Deering is current in filing reports and making deposits. The current tax release form filed shows that she has no past debt, however the city does have IRS liens recorded. RUBA asked the administrator to contact IRS to get Deering City Council off the lien watch report.

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
The city has their workmen's compensation policy posted which is paid in full until June 2009. She has had no changes in personnel but continues to send her water plant operator and alternate to training and she plans to attend the QuickBooks Pro training here in Kotzebue in May. They still have their AML approved personnel policies with adequate hiring process, tying the job descriptions to evaluations with personnel folders containing all the necessary documents.

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 Council of Deering adopts necessary ordinances who understand that they own the entity and remains active in enforcing the policy making of the utility meeting monthly following the open meetings act. The City Administrator is the manager as well as the bookkeeper but is training her new clerk as well. She rehired the previously certified operator who will work to restore his certification. They have an organizational chart this is posted in the city office as well.

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".
No 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 previously certified operator moved back to Deering and is working toward renewing his expired certicates. No known safety meetings have been held. Unfortunately, when this operator left his job last fall, water tanks were not filled to capacity so now they have to save their three feet of water just for emergencies. Residents are hauling their own ice for water and to use for their sewer system in their day tanks. Although they have no water that is being delivered, their sewer system is still working. The operator maintains the inventory and critical spare parts list. The utility is still on the SNC list. As of December 2008 the city has 0 of 6 months to RTC. To RTC, the system must take and report all turbidity, EP C12 and t-coli sampling and distr C12 readings. System has 3 of 12 months to RTC. To RTC, system needs to continue quarterly TTHM/HAA5 and monthly distribution C12 sampling as well as stay below the TTHM/HAA5 RAA MCL.