Quarterly Report: 2011, January - March (Q3), Saxman

Glen Hamburg  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Agreement Date:
City of Saxman 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
The City of Saxman is located on the west side of Revillagigedo Island, two miles south of Ketchikan on the South Tongass Highway. Water for the community is derived from a dammed reservoir, then treated and stored in a 128,000-gallon tank. The city operates a Class 1 water treatment system, a Class 1 water distribution system, and a Class 1 wastewater collection system. System classifications are determined by the State of Alaska's Department of Environmental Conservation Division of Water based on the type of components found in a treatment plant and the number of connections served by water distribution and wastewater collection systems. All homes in Saxman are fully plumbed. While the majority of sewage is treated at public treatment facility with an ocean outfall, a few homes utilize individual septic tanks. Refuse is collected by a private company and disposed of at the Ketchikan landfill and electricity is provided by Ketchikan Public Utilities. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
The community continues to meet all essential capacity indicators. This quarter, RUBA staff worked with city officials to schedule a community visit from April 25-27 in order to complete an updated RUBA management assessment for sanitation project funding eligibility and to obtain further supporting documentation. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff has scheduled to visit Saxman April 25-27 to complete an updated RUBA management assessment for sanitation project funding eligibility and to obtain further supporting documentation. RUBA staff will also continue to offer utility management assistance to the community as needed and requested.
Essential Indicators:
26 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
19 of 27
Total Score:
45 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.
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.
No Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
The utility budget has revenue projections equal to expenditures. The city's utility customers pay $60 per month for water and sewer service. At present, user fee revenues cover all of the utility's operational cost and the utility has approximately $100,000 in reserve. This reserve is primarily held for utility repair and maintenance; however, the funds are not specifically restricted to these purposes. In the past, the city has drawn on reserve funds for other purposes, such as the purchase of a new public works pickup truck. Monthly financial reports, which compare actual revenue and expenditures to budgeted projections, are submitted by the city administrator to the city council each month. Budget amendments are rare and are only considered when actual revenue or expenditures for a particular line item deviates from the amount budgeted by 10%. The community has no bulk fuel storage facility. Rather, fuel is purchased from Andres Oil in Ketchikan on a 'keep fill' contract.

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 uses Frey accounting software for utility billing, accounts receivable, accounts payable, and payroll. This software encompasses three integrated modules: the Cubic utility billing and control system, the Chips payroll system, and the Bucs general fund accounting system. The city administrator has reported that together, these systems operate effectively, particularly the utility billing and control module. The payroll and general fund modules are not as user-friendly as the others, but still meet the utility's accounting needs. A manual receipt book system is used to record incoming funds, which are subsequently entered into the Frey accounting system. The same receipt book is used for all payments made to the city. Bank deposits for incoming funds are deposited weekly, bills are paid once or twice per week as they are received, and bank reconciliations are performed monthly. The utility uses both purchase orders and request for checks which are reviewed and signed by the city administrator. The governing body has an adopted collections policy which is strictly enforced with delinquency notices, service disconnections, late fees, and reconnection fees. By actively enforcing the policy contained within their utility ordinance, the city has achieved an acceptable collection rate. Utility bills are sent out on the first working day of the month and late fees are assessed on the 25th of the month. If an account is delinquent for more than 60 days, the account is brought before the utility committee for recommendations on collection actions, which typically include disconnection of service.

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 IRS's taxpayer Advocacy Office has confirmed on March 26, 2011 that Saxman is current in its federal tax reports and filings and that the IRS has no liens against the city. The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development confirmed on March 17 that all state tax payments are current as well.

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.
No 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 Saxman has workers' compensation insurance coverage through the Alaska Municipal League Joint Insurance Association (AMLJIA), effective until June 30, 2011. This policy covers work-related accidents and occupational diseases up to the Alaska statutory limits for each occurrence. The city implements a well-established personnel management system. A personnel policy handbook has been adopted and is required to be read by every employee. Though the city does not have a written hiring procedure, the city has always required a 90-day probationary period for new hires. Job descriptions are updated regularly and well-organized personnel files include all the necessary documents. The city provides annual evaluations for its employees, however evaluations are not tied to the job descriptions.

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 has two operators working on the utility systems who have the necessary level of certification. The utility operator Richard Shields has the following certificates: Water Treatment Level 1 Exp. 12/31/13 Water Distribution Level 1 Exp. 12/31/13 The utility operator Michael O'Larick has the following certificates: Water Treatment Level 1 Exp. 12/31/12 Water Distribution Level 1 Exp. 12/31/12 Wastewater Collection Operator-in-Training (OIT) Exp. 12/31/11

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
Saxman's water system remains on the EPA's Significant Non-Compliance list for its continued high levels of disinfectant by-products (DBPs). In order to be removed from the list, the system must obtain one quarter of test results with adequate DBP levels. The State of Alaska's Department of Environmental Conservation Division of Environmental Health reports that while upgrades to the system have recently been made, further upgrades may be necessary to address these elevated DBPs. There have been no problems or outages due to management issues. The utility completes and distributes its Community Confidence Report (CCR) and is operating at the proposed level of service. The operator maintains an adequate level of supplies and some spare parts for the utility, however does not maintain an inventory control or critical spare parts list. In addition to stocked parts and supplies, the utility has an agreement with Ketchikan's water system whereby tools, parts, and supplies can be obtained in the event of an emergency. The operators do have a preventive maintenance plan which is included in the operations manual. While the operators discuss potential risks before starting a job, they do not conduct regular safety meetings, or have a safety manual. The utility operator consults with the City Administrator on a regular basis and provides written status reports monthly.