|The city's collection policy, as adopted in 2012, specifies that delinquent customers will either have their water service discontinued or will be sent to collection agencies for collections. However, the city does not currently have the ability to shut off water to individual customers and are not currently sending delinquent customers to collections agencies. Therefore, they are not actively following their policy. However, the council is in the process of exploring alternative options for dealing with delinquent customers, including a possible forgiveness plan and a possible reward system for paying customers.
The city bills customers on a monthly basis for water, wastewater, and garbage services. Current rates are $20/month for water, $12/month for wastewater, and $10/month for garbage, with half-off rate for elderly customers over 62 years of age. Bills are sent out at the beginning of the month and are due by the end of the month. Payments can be received in cash, check, money order, or by credit card. A re-assessment of the city's water collection rate identifies that over the past six months, the collection rate has increased from 26 percent to 62 percent, owing to the utility manager providing the water utility rate study to residence as encouragement to begin paying their bills.
However, the utility's revenues are still low, causing a significant shortfall every year, subsidized by other sources of income such as Community Revenue Sharing. Currently the utility charges customers $32 per month for water and wastewater, and has a collection rate of approximately 62 percent. With a 100 percent collection rate, in order to break even, the utility would need to charge all customers $57.81 per month.
An accounts receivable system is in place, using the QuickBooks program, to track all customers and past due accounts. Accounting systems are in place to calculate payroll, cash receipt, cash disbursement, and purchasing. Employees clock in and out of work at the city office using a timecard. Employees then transfer this information onto a time sheet at the end of each pay period. The employee and mayor sign the timesheet; the accounts payable staff processes the timesheet and makes payments. Cash received and disbursed in the city office is processed by the accounts receivable and payable clerks, including a duplicate receipt system and the QuickBooks. There are purchase order and check request forms which each employee must complete in order to make purchases. Purchases under $500 are signed off by the mayor, and purchases over $500 must be approved by the city council majority.
There are technical issues between the two financing computers, and as the two computers do not always network correctly, the QuickBooks file often gets split into two. When this happens, the accounts receivable staff has to retroactively update the city's main QuickBooks file. There are a number of other errors on the file, which leads to meaningful financial reports being difficult or impossible to produce directly from the file. A RUBA QuickBooks contrator is working with financial staff on correcting these errors, and ensuring the QuickBooks file is kept up to date and accurate in the future. Monthly bank reconciliations are not being completed as the QuickBooks file is being corrected and monitored. The last bank reconciliations completed were through July, 2012. Therefore, reconciliations are currently delinquent, potentially causing problems with ensuring all finances are in agreement and accurate.|