Quarterly Report: 2012, April - June (Q4), Shungnak

Margaret Hansen  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Agreement Date:
City of Shungnak 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
The City of Shungnak operates the piped water and sewer system. The City Council is the policy making board for the utility. As of April 1, 2011, Shungnak has entered into a billing assistance program with Alaska Rural Utility Collaborative (ARUC). The water infiltration gallery was destroyed by ice several years ago and needs replacement. A reservoir is intermitently filled from the Kobuk River. A portable pump fills a 200,000-gallon steel storage tank through 1,110' of buried arctic pipe. Currently, the City has a new 200,000 gallon tank connected to the new water treatment plant. Groundwater wells have proven unsuccessful; however, they are still drilling to find a new groundwater source. Piped water and sewer services are provided to 53 homes (those at the top of the bluff), clinic, school, and community building. Shungnak has a six-inch buried gravity sewage main, which drains into a small, diked lake one-half mile northwest of the city. The sewer main, lift station, and manholes have been replaced last summer. The effluent is chlorinated before discharge. ANTHC found funds to complete the new sewage lagoon last summer. The new water tank and treatment plant projects are completed. A project to replace a portion of the community aged water and sewer mains and services is currently 60 percent complete. A new waste heat recovery system for the water treatment plant and other community buildings is currently in design with construction estimated to start this summer. Construction of service lines to five new Northwest Inupiat Housing Authority homes has been funded by the housing authority.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
RUBA staff worked with the administrator via email, fax and phone to complete monthly financial reports, sign tax authorization forms and to qualify for FY13 Community Revenue Sharing. Kotzebue staff has not received last quarter's monthly financial reports.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Kotzebue staff will work with the administrator in completing monthly financial reports and fulfilling other essential indicators. Shungnak has signed a RUBA assistance agreement. A trip to Shugnak is scheduled for August to develop a work plan.
Essential Indicators:
16 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
15 of 26
Total Score:
31 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.
No Monthly financial reports are prepared and submitted to the policy making board.
No The utility is current in paying all water/wastewater electric bills.
No 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.
No A monthly manager's report is prepared.
N/A Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
All revenues are listed in the realistic utility budget submitted for 2012. Kotzebue RUBA staff has not received last quarter's monthly financial reports or meeting minutes verifying that financials were submitted to the council. As updated information is not available, it is unknown if the utility is receiving enough revenue to operate or still has the funds available to purchase fuel for the remainder of the fiscal year. Since financials have not been reviewed, it is unknown if electric payment is current or if a monthly manager's report has been prepared.

Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No The utility has adopted a collection policy and actively follows it.
No 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.
No 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 administrator reports that customers are billed on a regular basis but has not submitted financial reports to verify this. The city has adopted a collection policy; it is unknown if it is being actively followed without minutes showing review of finances or that the council has regular meetings. The administrator reports that cash receipts, cash disbursements and payroll are recorded manually onto Northwest Arctic Borough Accounting system ledgers. The budget is used as a chart of accounts. Without documentation, it is unknown if bank reconciliations have been completed and if the city is using a purchasing system.

Tax Problems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes 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
Shugnak has a manual system that accurately calculates, tracks and reports payroll tax liabilities. RUBA has received signed tax authorizations showing that Shugnak is not in compliance with federal and state taxes. The city is still listed on Lien Watch for unpaid Alaska Employment Security Tax in the amount of $18,480; the IRS took a lien for the amount of $23,401 from the community's bank account. The administrator stated that the Internal Revenue Service was paid $30,000 in the last month; this community is making strides to pay down liabilities.

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
Workers compensation insurance has been renewed through June 2013; the community is waiting for its Community Revenue Sharing to pay the entire amount. The council adopted personnel policies that were reviewed by Alaska Municipal League (AML) which includes a hiring process and an evaluation process that ties to the job description. Personnel folders contain I-9 forms, job applications, and letters of acceptance. The administrator provides orientation, job oversight, and evaluations on all employees and provides them training opportunities. Shungnak has had difficulty keeping on permanent clerk.

Organizational Management

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The entity that owns the utility is known; the entity that will operate the utility is set.
No The policy making body is active in policy making of the utility.
No 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.
No The policy making body meets as required.
No The utility complies with the open meeting act for all meetings.
Organizational Management Comments
The council is the known entity who owns the utility and has adopted an ordinance to give it authority but has not been active in following through with their policy. They utilize Alaska Rural Utilities collaborative (ARUC) billing assistance. They have adopted an organizational chart that reflects their current organizational structure. The administrator has been there for over 20 years and handles all the bookkeeping. The operator has a certificate for Water Treatment and recently for Wastewater. A new city clerk has been hired and is in training. Without minutes submitted for review, it is unknown if the council has been meeting as required or complying with the 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
No 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.
No 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 operator is certified for Water Treatment 1 and Wastewater Lagoon. The administrator reports that operators will attend all training needed. The administrator routinely spot checks utility facilities and meets with the operator to make sure that routine maintenance is being completed and that the utility is operating at the level proposed. The operator reports that he does maintain an inventory and critical spare parts list. The water utility has distributed the Consumer Confidence Report and is not on the Significant Non-Complier list.