Quarterly Report: 2014, January - March (Q3), Ouzinkie

Jedediah Smith  
DCRA Regional Office:
Anchorage regional office 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Kodiak Island Borough 
Agreement Date:
City of Ouzinkie 
185 2013 Department of Labor Estimate 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Completed 
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
Water is supplied by a dam on Mahoona Lake and Katmai Creek and is treated and piped throughout the city. The system serves 80 homes and commercial facilities. A piped wastewater system, central wastewater treatment system, and sludge disposal site are used for waste. Over 90 percent of all homes are completely plumbed. The city needs a 400,000-gallon water tank for adequate treatment and storage. Refuse is collected by the city. A new landfill site was recently completed. The community participates in a hazardous waste collection program, and is in the process of creating a facility to recycle scrap metal. Electricity is provided by City of Ouzinkie. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
RUBA staff assisted Ouzinkie’s mayor and city clerk in clarifying personnel policies and procedures, and in developing a clear organizational chart and proper employee evaluation procedures. Specifically, Ouzinkie officials sought information on the difference between "at-will" and "for cause" employment structures and drug and alcohol policies for employees. In developing the response for the community, RUBA staff consulted with the city’s workers’ compensation insurance provider, the Alaska Municipal League Joint Insurance Association (AMLJIA). RUBA staff also encouraged the mayor and city clerk to contact AMLJIA for more precise recommendations or clarifications. RUBA staff additionally provided a draft organizational chart based on personnel under the city's employ. For the city clerk's job description, RUBA staff recommended including the duties prescribed to municipal clerks in Alaska Statute 29.20.380, in addition to duties assigned in the current job description. RUBA staff also reminded the mayor and clerk that according to Ouzinkie City Code, the clerk is appointed by the council, even though the position is under the direct supervision of the mayor. RUBA staff delivered this information to the mayor and clerk over the telephone and also provided a written response via email. The Mayor of Ouzinkie requested Anchorage RUBA staff review the city's personnel policies and procedures, which are set forth in city code, and requested assistance with de-codifying the policies, in order to allow the council to make changes with a simple resolution process. RUBA staff outlined the process of making the change and offered to assist with draft language to amend the ordinance. The mayor also inquired about making electricity utility rate changes, claiming operating costs had become too high, and that the city needed an increase in Power Cost Equalization (PCE) program funding. RUBA staff suggested the mayor contact the Alaska Energy Authority's Power Cost Equalization staff on this matter. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff and the Alaska Municipal League are working on de-codifying the city's personnel policies and procedures. RUBA staff will also travel to Ouzinkie on April 9-10 to review proposed changes with the city council and attend a regularly scheduled council meeting.
Essential Indicators:
24 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
23 of 27
Total Score:
47 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.
Yes Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
The city adopted its FY14 budget ordinance on June 25, 2013. According to the budget, the water utility anticipates user fee revenues of $35,622 and expenditures of $80,622. Revenues generated by the city electric utility (Focus Energy) are transferred from the city’s general fund subsidize sanitation utility costs. The budget is regularly reviewed and budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary. The overall budget is realistic and balanced. It includes the payroll and all other normal operating expenditures for a utility enterprise. The city has a utility bookkeeper and assistant who use QuickBooks and Excel to generate monthly financial statements. The city owns the electric utility and uses QuickBooks to document interoffice transfer of funds for electric usage. The city has a financial plan to purchase fuel throughout the year. There is a line item for equipment repair and maintenance in the budget, but there is not a separate account for repair and replacement funds. The city recently had a workshop regarding utility rates. The workshop indicated that a rate study was needed to generate rates to cover all operating expenses.

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 Ouzinkie Code of Ordinances addresses the water and wastewater utility collection policy. Invoices that include power usage, Power Cost Equalization (PCE) subsidy, and water, wastewater, and garbage charges are sent to city customers by the fifth of every month. The accounts receivable report generated from QuickBooks shows the highest amount due to the city for residential utilities for over 90 days is $661. There are no vendors listed in the accounts payable that are 90 days past due. The city uses QuickBooks to process all payroll expenses for the water utility. The city uses a sales book to generate receipts for cash payments and QuickBooks for credit card payment receipts. QuickBooks is used to record all cash disbursements. The chart of accounts has all bank accounts, accounts receivable, assets, accounts payable, liabilities, equities, income, and expense accounts. QuickBooks is also used to process bank reconciliations. All purchase requests are submitted in writing, recorded in the purchase order log book, and reviewed by the mayor for approval.

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.
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 Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Employment Security Division granted tax clearance through March 2014. Ouzinkie is not on the January 2014 Lien Watch. An authorization to request tax information was sent to the community on March 3, but has not yet been returned with a signature. Therefore, RUBA staff cannot verify with the IRS that the community is current on federal employment tax filings. Ouzinkie has been in compliance the previous four quarters. However, this indicator will be marked 'no' until the status can be verified.

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 is insured for workers’ compensation through an Alaska Municipal League Joint Insurance Association (AMLJIA) policy that is effective through to July 1, 2014. Employee policies include job descriptions, employment reference checks, and an introductory period of 90 days. Performance evaluations are scheduled approximately every 12 months, coinciding with the anniversary of the employee's original hire date. The hiring process is stated in the employment section of the personnel policies and utilizes all information in the job application to determine the potential employee. The city has personnel folders on all employees that contain the employee's job application, performance evaluations, letter of acceptance, I-9, and W-2 information.

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 owns the utility and the governing body, the city council, meets on the second Thursday of each month. The city council is active in making policies and enforcing those policies. The utility manager is the mayor, who is trained in utility management and has a working knowledge of the city utilities. The primary operator is certified in Water Distribution 1 and Water Treatment 1; both certifications are due to expire on December 31, 2014. Title 13 in the Ouzinkie Code of Ordinances has all the rules and regulations required to operate the utility. The city meets as required by local code and complies with the Open Meeting Act by placing notices prior to the meeting in three public places. In December 2013, the Ouzinkie Mayor contacted RUBA staff to report one city council member had resigned. The Council appointed a new council member in February 2014.

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.
No The utility maintains an inventory control list.
No The utility maintains a critical spare parts list.
Operation of Utility Comments
The utility’s primary operator is certified in Level 1 Water Distribution and Level 1Water Treatment; both certifications are due to expire on December 31, 2014. The secondary operator is holds a Provisional Water Distribution certificate that will expire on December 31, 2013. The city has the Community Sanitation Facilities, Operations, and Maintenance Manual from the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) that includes the preventative maintenance plan for the water utility. The operators routinely spot-check the water treatment plant and monitor the water storage tank. Last winter, the water storage tank suffered an overflow. The overflow produced ice that blocked the utility ladder to the access door on the top of the water tank. This overflow occurred during a time that all operators were off site and weather prevented their return to the community. Operators do not hold safety meetings and there is no safety log to record safety meetings. There have been no major outages of the utility due to managerial issues. The utility is operating as proposed and is a Water Treatment Class 1 water system. The operators provide the mayor with updates and the mayor then informs the council when policy making decisions are needed. The water utility is not listed on the January 2014 Significant Non-Compiler (SNC) list. The utility does not have an inventory control list or a critical spare parts list.