Quarterly Report: 2013, April - June (Q4), Hoonah

Lynn Kenealy  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
First Class City 
Agreement Date:
City of Hoonah 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
The City of Hoonah is a first class city with an approximate population of 777. The community is majority Tlingit, and is located on northeast Chichagof Island, 40 miles west of Juneau. Water is derived from Gartina Creek, a surface water source, treated, and piped to homes and facilities within the city. The city has 98% of all homes fully plumbed. The City of Hoonah operates and manages the following utility services: ' Class 2 treated water ' Class 2 wastewater ' Water to school ' Landfill ' Garbage Haul ' Harbor/Dock ' Tank Farm (owned publically, leased and operated and maintained privately) 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
This quarter RUBA staff visited the community to conduct the RUBA assessment of management capacity, and provided other assistance as requested. Additionally this quarter, RUBA staff assisted with questions and issues pertaining to executive sessions, land sales, historic municipal documents, and gaming permits. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
In the upcoming quarter, RUBA staff will assist Hoonah staff with improvements to their one remaining sustainable indicators, and with any other matters requested by the city.
Essential Indicators:
26 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
26 of 27
Total Score:
52 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.
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 of Hoonah follows the calendar budget year. The FY13 budget, for January 1-December 31 2013, was adopted on December 31, 2012. Budget estimates are made based on previous years' totals, incorporating expected deviations in the upcoming year. The budget classifies all expenditures and revenues into categories of general fund, administration, elected officials, employee housing, public works, roads, police, EMS, fire, youth and parks, and harbor. It then breaks down these classes more specifically, for instance, by breaking down public works into water, wastewater, and garbage, and itemizing all expenses and revenues for each of these classes. For instance, revenues for the water department are broken down as water, harbor, general, late charges, water hookup fee, PERS subsidy, and general fund subsidy. The general fund subsidy was necessary in years past, but is no longer necessary, though the category remains in place in case future subsidies are necessary. Expenditures include salaries, PERS, workers compensation, travel, dues, electricity, gas and oil, office supplies, licensing, testing , chemicals, maintenance, freight, and many others. Most budgeted expenditures are anticipated at or slightly above the previous years actual totals, and most budgeted revenues are anticipated at or slightly below the previous years actual totals. A budget amendment was passed in March, 2013, reflecting changes to elected officials office supplies and fire department supplies, evidencing budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary. Year-to-date revenues and expenditures are in line with expectations as of May 2013, just over one-fourth through the budget year. The budget committee meets once per month and provides recommendations to the city council based on budget versus actual profit and loss reports provided by the city treasurer, which are then generally accepted at the following monthly city council meeting. The budget committee includes at least two council members. Additionally, at every budget committee meeting, the treasurer discusses one of the municipal grants, in the hopes of addressing each grant with the committee every year. The treasurer attends these committee meetings and provides a verbal report, as well as the city administrator who submits a written manager's report which addresses any discrepancies or concerns. Each department head is responsible for ensuring they remain within their budgeted allotment, and reports to the city administrator if there are concerns, who then passes these concerns on to the budget committee. The utility receives its electricity through IPEC (Inside Passage Electric Cooperative), which bills the city monthly. The city provided proof of payment. Fuel is provided by private businesses in the community, currently Wards Cove. The city budgets sufficiently to cover fuel costs for each year. The utility charges monthly for water, wastewater, and garbage together, at a rate of $74.30 for seniors; $122.84 for residents; and varying prices for commercial customers, such as $400 for food service providers, and metered rates for the cold storage facility and swimming pool (usually totaling about $1,300 per month). The utility has an almost 93% collection rate by the time of shut-off, according to an aging report dated 05/20/13. This revenue is sufficient to cover all water, wastewater, and garbage costs, including a repair and replacement fund. The utility hopes to consider raising rates again in 2015 in order to begin collecting funds for a capital replacement fund. Rates will be reassessed at that point. The city's building permitting code requires all new buildings to install water meters. At some time in the future, the utility hopes to install meters on all remaining buildings, and begin billing all customers at a metered rate.

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 of Hoonah utilizes the Caselle electronic accounting system to track all city and utility finances, accounts receivable, and accounts payable. All incoming moneys are received by the city clerk, who then provides a daily log to the treasurer. Information and transactions are tracked and moved by the treasurer, who also completes remote deposits of cash received. The treasurer then sends confirmation documentation back to the clerk who verifies all payments received. The only cash maintained by the city is $200 in change for cash payments received. This money is accessed only by the city clerk, who tracks and maintains the money. Payments may be received by cash, check, or credit card. A chart of accounts is maintained in the city's Caselle file, including assets, liabilities, and equity for all departments. All accounts payable are tracked by the city treasurer. Each department head is responsible for remaining within their budgeted allotment. If an expense is under $500, the department head completes a purchase order and provides this to the treasurer for purchase and payment. Expenses between $500-10,000 require the mayors signature on the purchase order before the treasurer may approve purchase or payment. All purchases over $10,000 require city council approval. As an additional distribution of responsibilities and oversight, the city treasurer may not sign checks, complete purchase orders, or access cash. The city treasurer bills all utility customers on a monthly basis, sending out bills on the first of the month for the prior month. Payments are due on the final day of the month the bill is sent. If the balance is carried over for five days, the account becomes delinquent. At that point, the customer must pay both the previous months bill and current bill in order to end delinquency status. On the 15th of the following month, a shut off list is generated and compared with all payments to ensure it is accurate. The water operator then places door hangers on all delinquent customers' homes, requesting they come into the city office to pay their delinquent water bills. Water for all delinquent customers is shut off 3-4 days later, and a letter is sent to said shut-off customers, informing them that they must pay off the balance before water may be turned back on. Most delinquent customers pay their balances before the shut-off day. However, if a customer fails to pay off the delinquent account after shut-off, the process for small claims court is engaged. The city is also currently in the process of garnishing four customer permanent fund dividends, due to delinquency and non-payment of past accounts. These practices are consistent with the billing and collections policy as provided in Hoonah Municipal Code Title 13: Public Services. The citys treasurer completes bank reconciliations monthly and provided evidence as such.

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.
N/A 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 utilizes the Caselle accounting software program to calculate and manage tax payments. The city has no past tax liabilities or liens, and was current on state taxes as of May 30, 2013; and current on federal taxes as of June 17, 2013.

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 of Hoonah receives its workers compensation insurance from AMLJIA, and posts evidence of such in all locations employees work regularly. The insurance is paid through July 1, 2013. The city has an employee handbook which was last updated in October 2011, and has been vetted by AMLJIA and DCRA. The handbook includes all categories covered by the indicators, including personnel evaluation process, hiring process, and orientation. The city clerk keeps all personnel files, including I-9, job applications, letters of acceptance, and evaluations. The city also keeps job descriptions for all filled positions, as well as several positions which are not currently being utilized, in case they become necessary in the future. All employees are encouraged to attend training. Water operators are fully trained and maintain their CEU's as required. Additionally, the city administrator attended the planning and personnel trainings; the mayor attended the personnel training; the finance director attended the financial management training. The city administrator resigned on June 23. The new administrator will be encouraged to attend trainings as well. The city clerk attends the yearly Alaska Municipal Clerks conference, and every office staff attends the yearly Alaska Municipal League conference.

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 of Hoonah owns and operates the community's water and wastewater systems, as provided by the Hoonah Municipal Code Title 13: Public Services. The city council is the policy-making body for the utility. The council meets once per month for regular meetings, as well as throughout the month for various committee-as-a-whole meetings, including meetings pertaining to the water utility. Public notification is posted prior to all committee, regular, and special meetings, in compliance with the Open Meetings Act. Utility policies as detailed in Title 13 are enforced by city staff and overseen by the council. Utility management is shared by the mayor and the public works director. The utility's manager and financial officer have both been with the city for longer than three years. All utility staff are adequately trained and encouraged to attend further training, as discussed in the previous section of this assessment. The city maintains a City of Hoonah Organizational Structure, which clearly delineates chain of command, supervision, and lists all employees of the city. The organizational chart is consistent with job descriptions.

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.
Yes The utility maintains an inventory control list.
Yes The utility maintains a critical spare parts list.
Operation of Utility Comments
The water utility has one primary and two back-up water operators. The primary water operator is certified at level 2 for water treatment and distribution, while the back-up operators are both certified at level 1 for water treatment and distribution. The primary water operator is certified at level 2 for wastewater, and one of the back-up operators is certified at level 1 for wastewater. The water utility was built by ANTHC, and the utility maintains the operation and maintenance manual as provided by ANTHC, which includes a preventative maintenance plan. The manager speaks with the water operator regularly, and visits and checks out the plant a few times a week. The utility has not suffered any major problems, excepting a pump failure which is now back to operational. The system operates at the level of service proposed, and is not on the Significant Non-Compliance list, as of April 2013. The primary water operator completes the CCR reports as needed. The water operator maintains computer Excel documents of inventory and critical spare parts lists, and updates them as needed. The operator is currently in the process of converting to the (Check-Up Program for Small Systems) CUPSS system, with remote assistance included. The utility has a safety manual as provided by OSHA, and previously held safety meetings regularly. However, as of about two years ago, they stopped attending the AMLJIA safety meetings, and have not commenced with any regular safety meeting system since this time.