Quarterly Report: 2009, July - September (Q1), Hoonah

Lawrence Blood  
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:
Water is derived from Shotter, Dalton, and Spud Creeks, treated, and piped to all homes and facilities. A new water treatment facility was completed in October 1998. Piped sewage is processed in a sewage treatment plant and 98% of homes are fully plumbed. The City provides garbage collection services twice weekly. The Tlingit-Haida Regional Electric Authority operates three diesel-fueled generators in Hoonah. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Juneau RUBA staff traveled to the community and completed a RUBA assessment on July 17, 2008. Since the RUBA assessment was completed, the council has met to discuss the recommendations and city staff has started providing financial reports on a monthly basis. The City provided documentation which satisfies two additional sustainable indicators. The City currently meets all essential indicators.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
1)RUBA staff will continue to offer RUBA assistance as needed or requested to improve utility management practices. 2) 32-hour personnel Management Course in Juneau December 1-5, 2008
Essential Indicators:
27 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
25 of 27
Total Score:
52 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.
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 council adopted a balanced FY08 budget on December 18, 2007. The budget is based on the calendar year, January 1 through December 31 and includes general government operation, community services departments, and enterprise funds. An evaluation between the FY-08 utility budget and actual FY-07 revenues and expenses suggests that the budget is adequately detailed and realistic. The mayor, who also serves as the utility manager, gives a verbal financial report to the council at monthly meetings. Financial reports, including a profit and loss statement, balance sheet, and budget vs. actual profit and loss are available to council members; however, are not currently included in the council meeting packets. The council relies on the mayor to oversee the finances of the City and for the execution of the budget. The council provides its oversight by performing quarterly budget reviews. To meet the criteria for this essential indicator and as an improvement to the current practice, the mayor will begin providing financial reports to council members on a monthly basis starting at the August 2008 council meeting. The City is current on all electricity bills through July 2008. Electricity is provided through Inside Passage Electric Cooperative (IPEC) at $0.22 per kilowatt hour (KPH) after Power Cost Equalization (PCE). Approximately 13% of the overall water and wastewater operating cost is for electricity. The community has a bulk fuel facility owned by Hoonah Trading Company which is comprised of propane, gasoline, and diesel storage tanks sufficient to meet the community's needs. The City has a 'keep full' contract with Hoonah Trading with adequate funds budgeted for fuel purchases. The utility receives revenues sufficient to cover operating expenses and repair and replacement costs. In prior years, the utility relied on inter-fund transfers and general fund subsidies to balance the utility budget. This year, the FY-08 budget has revenue projections exceeding expenditures by $4850 which includes expected repair and replacement cost. The City provides water, wastewater, and solid waste utility services to the local population for the following combined fees (including sales tax): regular residential = $90.56 per month; senior citizen residential = $55.04 per month; commercial = $125.35 per month; and a metered rate structure for large volume users. Large volume users include Hoonah City Schools, Hoonah Cold Storage, and Point Sophia. Year-to-date revenues and expenses are generally inline with budgeted projections. Total utility revenues and expenses are slightly below the expectations for 3rd quarter FY-08.

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 Hoonah has adopted and actively follows a collections policy as detailed in Title 13 of the Hoonah Municipal Code. The City actively pursues delinquent utility accounts. The collection policy establishes a $5.00 late fee and a simple interest charge of 1 percent per month for all unpaid accounts 20 days or more in arrears. The simple interest charge of 1 percent per month exceeds the Alaska statutory limit of 10.5 percent per year. The City terminates utility service 10 days after giving written notice and an opportunity for a public hearing. If service is terminated, a $30.00 disconnection fee and a $30.00 reconnect fee are assessed. Restoration of service after discontinuance for nonpayment of bills is made after payment of current and past due charges and payment of reconnect fees have been made. Customers having their service reconnected after discontinuance are also required to provide a $100.00 deposit that is additional to the initial water and sewer deposit. The City bills customers on a monthly basis for services received during the preceding month. Payments are due immediately upon receipt of the monthly statement. If payments are not received by the last business day of the month, the entire unpaid balance becomes delinquent. The city bills customers using a statement that does not list water, wastewater, and solid waste charges separately. The statement includes only a single charge which is for the combined utility services. The billing practice of using a single charge for all utility services is inconsistent with Hoonah Municipal Code 13.04.030 that requires services to be listed separately. The City is currently using Caselle accounting software for its accounting system. Caselle software was specifically designed for municipal and utility applications. It incorporates several integrated and expandable modules for general fund accounting, utility billing and control, and payroll. The accounts payable module issues checks, manages vendor information and interfaces with Requisitions, Purchase Orders, and General Ledger modules to enable full encumbrance accounting. The accounts receivable module maintains customer account and payment information, documents customer payments and reports past due accounts with corresponding amounts, generates user-designed invoices, statements, letters, and delinquent notices, and automatically calculates penalties, late fees, and sales tax. Caselle meets payroll reporting requirements for Alaska and provides annual IRS Circular E updates. The accounting technician reported that this accounting system is working well; however, it is considerably different from other accounting programs that she has used in the past. The accounting technician would like to receive additional training on the program to take advantage of the full range of software functions. The accounting technician completes monthly bank reconciliations and reports reconciling all bank accounts through May 2008. The City uses a purchase order system for all purchases, but reportedly does not always compare proposed purchases to budgeted amounts.

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 Hoonah uses Caselle accounting software to calculate, track, and report payroll liabilities. They are current on filing their tax reports and making tax deposits. On 7/17/2008 the city manager authorized RUBA staff to obtain federal tax information from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and employment security information from the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development (ADOLWD). Based upon the information received, as of 7/18/08, the City of Hoonah is deemed compliant by both the IRS and ADOLWD. The City is current with all tax reports and tax deposits. The City has not received any ADOLWD or IRS letter letters within the past year.

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 currently carries workers compensation insurance through AML/JIA. The policy runs from 7/01/08 through 06/30/09. The policy covers work-related accidents and occupational diseases up to the Alaska statutory limits for each occurrence. A copy of the workers compensation policy is posted in accordance with state statute at the following locations: City Hall, Water Treatment Plant, and Public Works Shop The City of Hoonah has a well established and implemented personnel management system. The City has an adopted personnel policy handbook. Every employee is required to submit a signed statement that they have read and understand the Personnel Policy Handbook. The City has a written hiring procedure in Chapter 3.48 of the municipal code. Job descriptions are up to date and the personnel files are very well organized with all the necessary employee documents. The City provides annual evaluations for all employees. Employees are offered ample professional training opportunities.

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
Hoonah residents are by and large aware that the City owns and operates the water, wastewater, and solid waste utilities and the city council is very active in making and enforcing utility policy. The mayor and city administrative staff are well trained in the organizational and fiscal management of the utility. The utility operators are certified at the appropriate levels to operate the City's level-2 water treatment and level-1 water distribution, wastewater collection, and wastewater treatment facilities.

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.
Yes 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 City has 2 certified utility operators. The utility operator, Ronny Roberts, has the following certifications: Wastewater Collection 2 Exp. 12/31/09 Wastewater Treatment 2 Exp. 12/31/10 Water Treatment 2 Exp. 12/31/08 Water Distribution 2 Exp. 12/31/09 The utility operator, Billy Miller, has the following certifications: Wastewater Collection 1 Exp. 12/31/10 Wastewater Treatment 1 Exp. 12/31/10 Water Treatment 1 Exp. 12/31/10 Water Distribution 1 Exp. 12/31/10 The operator has a preventive maintenance plan for the sanitation facilities contained within the utility operations manual. The water and wastewater utility staff consists of a public works supervisor and 4 utility operators. The public works supervisor is responsible for overall utility operations. The water operator and public works supervisor communicate in-person daily and the operator maintains a written log of maintenance activities and concerns. The public works supervisor prepares monthly written reports and conducts facilities 'spot checks' to verify maintenance items are being completed. The public works supervisor reports that the utility has a safety manual and holds safety meetings as part of the AML/JIA risk management program. The public works supervisor reports that the water utility is operating at the proposed level of service. Neither the water nor wastewater utility has suffered any major problems or outages due to management issues. The water utility completes and distributes its Community Confidence Report (CCR) and is not on the Significant Non-Compliance List. The water operator maintains an adequate level of tools, supplies, and spare parts and manages the stock through an inventory control list and a critical spare parts list.