Quarterly Report: 2013, July - September (Q1), 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 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 wastewater 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 wastewater main, which drains into a small, diked lake one-half mile northwest of the city. The wastewater main, lift station, and manholes have been replaced last summer. The effluent is chlorinated before discharge. ANTHC found funds to complete the new wastewater 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 wastewater 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 under construction. Construction of service lines to five new Northwest Inupiat Housing Authority homes funded by the housing authority is complete. ANTHC is moving forward with additional water and wastewater design/construction efforts.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
On August 29-31, Kotzebue RUBA staff traveled to Shungnak to provide training and assistance to the administrator. The city clerk has resigned and the administrator is currently covering those duties. RUBA staff and the administrator worked together to review the city budget. RUBA staff recommended they amend the budget because it did not include the revenue sharing from the State and funds from the Northwest Arctic Borough. RUBA staff noted that the utility and the public safety departments were both expending more than they were generating. RUBA staff recommended the city increase their monthly water/ wastewater rate from $80.00 to $100.00 for the utility and reviewed the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Northwest Arctic Borough (NAB) for the public safety officer. RUBA staff also reviewed and commented on their water/wastewater ordinance and the monthly financial reports. RUBA staff assisted in completing the tax reports and balancing them to employee compensation records. While on-site, RUBA staff attended a special meeting of the city council and explained the RUBA assessment including areas of the assessment the city needs to improve.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Kotzebue RUBA will work with the administrator in completing monthly financial reports, fulfilling other essential indicators, to get caught up with reporting, and payment of taxes. Kotzebue RUBA will travel to Shungnak in December to provide more on-site training and assistance to meet all essential and sustainable indicators.
Essential Indicators:
22 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
22 of 26
Total Score:
44 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
No 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.
N/A Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
All revenues and expenditures are listed in the realistic utility budget submitted. The council will be holding a public hearing in October to amend the budget. Currently the financials show that the city is receiving sufficient revenues to cover operating expenses. They are current in paying their electric bills and funding is set aside to pay for the purchase of fuel throughout the year. Although there is a reserve for repair and replacement costs it does not contain sufficient resources for major problems. A monthly manager's report has been prepared.

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 administrator reports that customers are billed on a regular basis by Alaska Rural Utility Collaborative (ARUC). The city has adopted a collection policy; review of the city council minutes confirm the council actively followed it. 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. During RUBA staff on- site visit in August, it was confirmed that bank reconciliations were being completed.

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 staff alerted the administrator that the city was not current in filing tax reports nor current in making her deposits. RUBA staff assisted the administrator in completing the Northwest Arctic Borough revenue sharing application to pay off IRS and DOL debt for past taxes due. No signed tax authorizations has been signed and submitted to RUBA, thus a current assessment of tax liability is not possible.

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 and has been paid in full. 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 reviewed by RUBA staff in August contain I-9 forms, job applications, and letters of acceptance. The city provides orientation, job oversight, and evaluations on all employees and provides them training opportunities. Shungnak has had difficulty retaining a 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 to operate. The council is active in enforcing utility policy. Shugnak utilizes Alaska Rural Utilities collaborative (ARUC) billing assistance program. They have adopted an organizational chart that reflects the current organizational structure. The administrator has worked for the city for over 20 years and handles all the bookkeeping. The operator has a certificate for Water Treatment and recently completed certification for wastewater. The council meets as required, 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
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 operator is certified for Water Treatment 1 and Wastewater Lagoon. The administrator reports that the city will try to send the alternate to the training in Anchorage in November. 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.