Quarterly Report: 2008, January - March (Q3), Saint Michael

Saint Michael 
Karlin Itchoak  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Agreement Date:
City of St. Michael 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
Currently, water is pumped from Clear Lake, approximately 5 miles north of the community and stored in a 1.2 million gallon water storage tank. The water is then pumped from the 1.2 million gallon tank, filtered, disinfected, and stored in a 400,000-gallon water storage tank for consumption. Wastewater is collected at the vacuum plant and pumped via forcemain to a wastewater treatment area northeast of the community. A new sanitation system was completed during the summer of 2005 to provide piped water and vacuum sewer service, and residential plumbing to the homes in the community. At present, 99% of the homes are served by the new system. A washeteria upgrade was completed in 2004 that completely renovated the washeteria. The water treatment plant is under renovation to meet compliance with the Surface Water Treatment Rule and is expected to be completed in 2007.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Karlin Itchoak was hired by DCRA in February and will be providing RUBA assistance to the community. Following the City's January 29, 2008 Special Election, Richard Elachik contacted the Nome regional office to inquire about the 40% requirement that candidates need to declare them winners. Richard also inquired about the canvass committee and reorganization process without a full council. It was explained to Richard that as long as the canvass committee has a quorum (which it did) it can certify elections and that reorganization of the council can take place once a full council is present at their next meeting. Richard successfully completed a 32-hour Personnel Management for Utilities workshop sponsored by RUBA in Nome on February 25-29, 2008.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
The City has not met all of the essential capacity indicators. If they follow the recommendations the city will put itself into position to better met unanticipated financial costs. RUBA staff is available to provide assistance for any capacity indicators that are not being met.
Essential Indicators:
21 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
17 of 27
Total Score:
38 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.
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.
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 Saint Michael has not been able to stay current with their utility electric bills. The City plans to pay up all electric bills to date as soon as they receive the community benefit share from Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation (NSEDC) later this month. In the fall the city purchased enough fuel to get them through January of 2008. With the arrival of their $100,000 NSEDC community share the city will pay their previous fuel bill, put funds towards administrative fees, pay their electric bills as previously mentioned and purchase additional fuel with their remaining funds. This additional fuel will supply the utility through out the winter. The utility is not generating enough revenues to sustain itself but through the efforts of the bookkeeper and some creative accounting they have managed to keep up with most of the minor repairs and ongoing bills. Revenues this fiscal year have increased largely due to the rate increase implemented by the city in July of 2007. The City did adopt a realistic budget this year and revenues and expenses are closer to what the council is expecting.

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 City of Saint Michael's computer system crashed in the spring of 2007 forcing the bookkeeper to resort to a manual form of bookkeeping. The computer system is again up and running however, in the process many years of data was destroyed. The Bookkeeper has decided to maintain the manual form of bookkeeping and is not sure when she will have time to input several years of data into the system. The utility does not have a written purchasing policy; however, they have a practice whereby a utility employee will notify the bookkeeper or other admin staff when parts or other supplies are necessary. Admin staff determines whether funds are available to make purchases or requests are simply granted based on the emergent need. A written policy will provide guidance and continuity especially for new employees who may not be familiar with old practices. RUBA staff are available to assist with the development of this policy should the city require assistance.

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
The city bookkeeper uses a manual system to calculate, track, and report payroll tax liabilities. In the past year, the city fell behind on filing timely tax reports and making deposits. A recent letter from the IRS indicates the entire balance needs to be paid in full as quickly as possible. Should the balance remain unpaid the IRS will impose a Trust Fund Recovery Penalty against city officials. Prior to departure from Saint Michael RUBA and City staff discovered the city had not requested their FY07 PILT funds. The city will utilize these funds to pay their IRS debt.

Personnel System

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility has a posted workers compensation insurance policy in effect.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
No 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 utility has insurance coverage through the Alaska Municipal League/Joint Insurance Association. Currently the City is struggling to maintain monthly payments however; they have negotiated a payment schedule that would work better for them.

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 adopted a water and sewer ordinance in January 2006 to give it the authority to operate. The Utility Manager position is delegated to the Vice-Mayor. The City Clerk and Bookkeeper have successfully completed 32-hour workshops on Introduction to Utility Management, Organizational Management for Sanitation Utilities, Financial Management for Sanitation Utilities, and Personnel Management sponsored by the RUBA program, from 2005-2008. Operator Norbert Otten, Thomas Otten and Alex Tom have completed OIT training in Nome. They are all adequately trained and will continue to pursue training when available.

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.
No Utility facilities have not suffered any major problems/outages due to management issues that are unresolved.
No 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.
No 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.
No The utility maintains a critical spare parts list.
Operation of Utility Comments
At this time, the preventative maintenance plan consists of operators utilizing daily maintenance checklists for the vacuum plant, washeteria and temporary water treatment plant. Monthly O and M reports are prepared and submitted to the City Council.