Quarterly Report: 2007, October - December (Q2), Atka

John Nickels  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Agreement Date:
City of Atka 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
The community system was constructed in 1978 and was expanded in 1982 to a new housing area. Water is supplied by a stream and wooden reservoir dam northwest of the City. It is stored in two 30,000-gallon water tanks before distribution. All 50 homes are connected to the piped water and sewer system and are plumbed. Sewage is piped to a central septic system. Wastewater flows untreated through outfall lines into Nazan Bay. Garbage is collected twice a week. The City has requested funds to increase water capacity, replace the water treatment system, replace connections, and treat the sewage outfall. Hydroelectric potential is under development at Chuniisax Creek. Electricity is provided by Andreanof Electric Corporation. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
There was no RUBA contact with Atka this quarter. RUBA contact with this community has been minimal in large part because they have stable, well trained staff. Currently the community is working on repairs to their water and sewer systems, both of which are old and in poor condition. Planning for a project that would replace both of these systems has been underway for several years, and is nearly complete. Planning will be finalized using the results of onsite testing of a new water treatment method, which is occurring this fall. The onsite testing is to determine the most appropriate process for treatment of the water's turbidity. Construction funds have been secured for these projects, however escalating construction costs and final design may require more funding. The city is working with VSW for additional funding and project construction. A project to bring hydroelectric power to the community, which was started last year, will not be completed this year as planned because of higher than anticipated costs. The city administrator reports the community is seeking an additional $800,000 in construction funding. The $0.50 per kilowatt rate now charged is projected in the business plan to drop to $0.25, and there will be an added benefit of utilizing excess power to heat the school and community building. A proposal to the village corporation, who owns the electric utility, is being prepared whereby the city would take over ownership and management of the utility.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Atka is presently a very well managed community, however, RUBA staff will continue to make occasional contact and offer assistance with utility and local government issues.
Essential Indicators:
27 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
21 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
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 provided a balanced budget. The budget identifies a reserve amount with the line item comment of 'if needed.' The balance sheet identifies reserves in Merrill Lynch, current assets of diesel and gasoline inventory, and values for fixed assets. Monthly finance reports provided to the governing body are Profit and Loss vs. Actual. They identify year-to-date expenditures, adopted budget, and amount remaining over/under budget.

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 does not bill customers. The city accounting system is maintained by QuickBooks Pro. The City Administrator is responsible for accounting functions. She has an accounting background, pays attention to detail, and is very efficient in her position. She lives and maintains a city office in Unalaska and visits Atka when the need arises. She previously lived in Atka for several years and knows the community's needs. The administrator prefers to use a numbered chart of accounts (COA). The Atka COA has balance totals for all assets, liabilities, and equity; these amounts were entered by the auditor and meet GASB 34 requirements. The COA was drafted by the administrator and customized to her work style. It is very detailed with the same expenditures item used in each department and given a different number for each department. This method of numbering creates more opportunity for data entry error. The city does not have an adopted purchasing system. The mayor approves city purchases within a limited amount. Major purchases are approved by the administrator and all purchases must be within the adopted budget.

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
The City of Atka is current with tax reports and tax deposits. The city has direct deposit for taxes. The city has not received any IRS or DOL letters within the past year. Taxes and reports are calculated using QuickBooks Pro.

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.
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 has purchased a Workers Compensation policy through AML/JIA and posted it in plain view in the city office. Employment recruitment is done within the city first. Atka attempts to hire locally and provide training if necessary. Local hires solve the housing problem. Employees are encouraged to continue professional growth and training is supported.

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 Atka Administrator maintains an office in Unalaska and travels to Atka when necessary. The Mayor and City Council are responsible for daily supervision of staff including supervision of the Administrator. The administrator's office is connected to Atka via fax, e-mail, and phone. The Administrator previously worked five years as a fund accountant and has been a city administrator for ten years. The city has two operators with one certified and one who's certification has lapsed. They both work part-time and have additional part-time duties in other city departments. The city has adopted an organizational chart that identifies positions and duties.

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".
No 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
One utility operator has the necessary certification and the back-up operator is working towards certification. The utility has adopted a preventative maintenance plan for the existing sanitation facilities. The water operator provides verbal reports to the Mayor. The city administrator provides written reports to the governing body. The issue of safety meetings has not been addressed. The Community Confidence Report was completed and distributed and is formatted in a very inviting manner that hooks the reader and still maintains the informative and educational impact. The water utility is currently listed as a Significant Non-Complier because of problems associated with an aging chlorine distribution system. The operators are working on compliance, but need six consecutive months without further violations before the utility can be removed from the SNC list. Doug Abbas, RMW, is actively working with the community to develop both an inventory control list and a critical spare parts list.