Quarterly Report: 2012, October - December (Q2), White Mountain

Community:
White Mountain 
Staff:
Iura Leahu  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of White Mountain 
Population:
190  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
1/31/2012 
Community Sanitation Overview:
Water is derived from a well near the Fish River and is treated. All households and facilities are connected to the piped water and wastewater system. The new school was completed in August 2009 and is connected to the city's water and wastewater system. The city has also requested funding to relocate the landfill. The current site is not permitted. The city is waiting on the village corporation to transfer the 1280 acres that will become the city's land site. Until this transfer is completed, the location of a new landfill site cannot be determined.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
This quarter, staff of the White Mountain Water System submitted the required financial, accounting, tax and operation and maintenance reports to the city council and federal and state agencies. Nome RUBA staff received the regular city council meeting minutes. According to the minutes, the utility clerk has provided the city council with written financial and managerial reports. The minutes indicate that White Mountain Water System has operated within the budget. The only item in the water and wastewater budget that went beyond what was budgeted was the contingency spending. The utility clerk report stated that the budget would be amended in order to reflect what was spent in excess of the budgeted funds. The city council continues to actively oversee the management and operation of the water system. According to the regular city council meeting minutes, the city council closely monitors the enforcement of the collection policy. In fact, the council mandated the utility clerk to take delinquent customers to small claims court. Utility staff has also offered delinquent customers the option of signing promissory agreements. This quarter, Nome RUBA staff planned to travel to White Mountain to work with the city clerk and the utility clerk in revising the White Mountain Code of Ordinances and present it to the city council for adoption. However, due to a time conflict in scheduling the travel did not occur. Nome RUBA staff will meet with city and utility staff at their request in the coming quarter. The utility clerk and water operator completed the RUBA sponsored Organizational Management for Rural Utilities course in November 2011.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Nome RUBA staff will travel to the City of White Mountain at the request of city staff in the coming quarter. The scope of the travel is to work with the city clerk and utility clerk in a complete revision of the White Mountain Code of Ordinances. RUBA staff is available to provide assistance for any sustainable capacity indicators that are not being met.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
26 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
24 of 27
Total Score:
50 of 53

Finances

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.
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 of White Mountain has operated the utility with a surplus the last two years. In these years, both the city and the utility had balanced budgets. The utility adopted its FY12 budget by the deadline. The utility's budget is included in the overall city budget. Both budgets include utility department revenues and expenses. The utility does not include a capital replacement fund, however they are considering setting up a savings account for this purpose. The city council has adopted budget amendments to respond to financial changes throughout the budget year. RUBA staff reviewed three months of monthly financial reports. They included a balance sheet as well as year-to-date totals by department and according to budgeted versus actual revenues and expenditures. The utility clerk has kept excellent financial reports. The regular meeting minutes show that the city council is aware of the financial standing of the utility and the financial decisions made by the city council have been based on the financial reports provided by the utility clerk. The collaboration between the city staff and the utility staff has resulted in the preparation of realistic, accurate and responsible budgets.

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 utility has adopted a collection policy which is included in the utility ordinance. In the last several years, the city has attempted to take delinquent customers to small claims court, but to date, the efforts have not resulted in successful collections. Most of delinquent accounts go back to the late 1990s and early 2000s. The utility clerk is responsible for the completion of this project. The utility has billed its customers regularly and the collection rate is reflected in the budget surpluses. The utility clerk has an excellent knowledge of QuickBooks Pro. The utility clerk makes comprehensive monthly financial reports. Customer invoices and payments are entered into the accounts receivable as soon as received. According to the most recent accounts payable report, none of the accounts payable are more than 30 days past due.

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 utility clerk uses QuickBooks to calculate, track and report payroll tax liabilities. Tax payments are made using the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS). On December 27, 2011 the Internal Revenue Service's Taxpayer Advocacy Office reported that the City of White Mountain and its public utilities are in compliance with the Federal tax deposit requirements. The IRS has no liens against the city as of December 2011. The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development confirmed that all state tax payments are current as of December 2011.

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.
No 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 workers compensation insurance is purchased through Alaska Municipal League Joint Insurance Association and valid until July 1, 2012. The Notice of Insurance was posted in plain view in the city office. The city has a comprehensive personnel policy. The city personnel system is designed to ensure that employment with the city and its public utilities is in accordance with the code of ordinances. Recruitment, selection, advancement, and retention of employees are based upon merit. The utility has personnel folders on every employee but none of them have a Form I-9. The utility clerk reported that people in rural Alaska cannot obtain identification documents, such as a social security card, driver license or passport, because of high cost associated with travel to cities where such documents could be obtained. In addition, in absence of any such documents, people simply are not able to even start the process of getting any kind of identification card. To comply with the Form I-9, employees need to provide such documents. In the past, RUBA staff recommended the utility update its written job description for all positions. The utility clerk made the necessary updates and asked the city council to review and adopt the new job descriptions. The utility clerk attends and takes classes to improve on her work performance.

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 regular meeting minutes indicate that the city council is involved in every aspect of the utility's business. The city council receives monthly status reports on the operation and financial management of the utility, as evidenced in the meeting minutes reviewed by RUBA staff. These minutes show that financial and public works reports are regularly provided to and reviewed by the council and ordinances and resolutions amending utility policy are adopted as necessary. According to the last three months of regular meeting minutes, the utility clerk has participated in each council meeting and reported to the city council verbally and in writing on the financial, operational and managerial status of the utility.

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
No 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.
Yes The utility maintains an inventory control list.
Yes The utility maintains a critical spare parts list.
Operation of Utility Comments
The operators' certification did not meet the Class 1 requirements of the State of Alaska's Department of Environmental Conservation, Division of Water for their treatment system. Adequate and timely actions have been taken by the utility to move toward the process of certification. The operator is in the process of obtaining a medical report and a medical recommendation which will allow his participation in an alternative examination method. The utility operators consult with the utility clerk on a regular basis and provide both verbal status reports to the utility clerk and the utility clerk reports to the city council each month. There are daily and monthly written reports kept by the operator. The reports include water treatment and consumption information and fuel consumption figures. The operator reported that the utility is operating at the proposed level of service and has not suffered any major problems or outages due to management issues. The utility is not listed on the Environmental Protection Agency's Significant Non-Compliance (SNC) list. Consumer Confidence Reports (CCRs) are completed and distributed as required by the Safe Drinking Water Act and state regulations. During the onsite RUBA assessment, RUBA staff observed that the utility did have a repair and maintenance handbook, a safety handbook, an inventory control list and a critical spare parts list at the facility. Both handbooks were in the office of the utility clerk. RUBA staff advised the utility clerk to make copies of the manuals and keep those copies at the facility.