Quarterly Report: 2011, April - June (Q4), Russian Mission

Russian Mission 
Eli Jacobson  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Agreement Date:
City of Russian Mission 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
Alaska Rural Utilities Collaborative provides full management and operation services for rural water/sewer systems for the City of Russian Mission. Water is derived from a deep well and distributed by pipes buried throughout the community. Most homes are connected to the piped sewage system, including twenty-five Housing and Urban Development homes. The city is currently updating their 2002 Sanitation Master Plan through Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Alaska Rural Utilities Cooperative (ARUC) provides full management and operation services to Russian Mission's water and sewer system. ARUC has provided RUBA a monthly financial statement ending May 2011. On June 14, 2011 a request for information to update the quarterly online RUBA report was sent to The City of Russian Mission by fax and receipt of fax was confirmed. On May 15, 2011 Bethel RUBA staff was told by the clerk for the City of Russian Mission, that since January, raw sewage has been overflowing one of the sanitation utility's septic lines. As a result, the property of several individuals has been contaminated and there is a serious human health issue. The city posted a Notice of Violation with the State of Alaska. The sanitation utility is managed by the Alaska Rural Utility Collaborative, (ARUC) who has been taking measures to fix the spill and protect the public health. However, there is now a lawsuit against ARUC being made by several affected property owners looking for sewage damage cleanup and remedial treatment. ARUC is still working to correct the problem. On May 19, 2011 RUBA staff Jacobson provided a copy of the IRS response to the authorization to request federal tax information to the city clerk. Jacobson discussed the taxes owed and gave contact information for them to correct the issue.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff will continue to verify federal and state tax status on a quarterly basis.
Essential Indicators:
24 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
27 of 27
Total Score:
51 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.
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
Monthly finance and budget reports are prepared by ARUC as two separate documents. ARUC prepares and sends to the community a financial report that lists expenses and revenue categories with columns showing amounts for 'This Month,' 'Last Month,' 'Year to Date,' and 'Budget.' The budget process begins with the ARUC manager and ARUC provided a copy of the monthly statement for the Russian Mission utility. ARUC pays the utility electric statement promptly and completely each month. ARUC has implemented fuel efficiency and accountability practices that have substantially lowered fuel consumption and expense to the community.

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 charges a flat rate for residential customers. Combined bills for water and sewer ($70/mon) are mailed at the end of each month. Commercial customers are charged $100/mon or $.10/gal. Payments of money orders or checks only are sent to a lock box at Wells Fargo who emails a list of payments daily to ARUC. Payments of check, cash, money order or credit card may be paid at the RUC Bethel office. A hand written receipt is issued at time of payment. ARUC also uses QuickBooks Pro for accounting purposes. Presently, bills are sent at the end of each month. They are considered overdue if unpaid 20 days later. Thirty days after that, the operators are given a list of addresses to place pink door hangers alerting the customer that service will be shut off in three days. RUC strictly enforces the disconnection policy for non-payment. Repayment plans are offered, however, the manager noted that many customers do not honor the payment plan. NSF checks are submitted to a collection agency. Through the Memorandum of Agreement, ARUC has the authority to change customer rates. The manager and accountant make recommendations to the advisory board who votes support or non-support. A vote of support is then sent to the ANTHC Board of Directors for action. The utility has a written purchasing system. An operator places a purchase request to the manager who then submits the request to administration. Administration checks the budget prior to approval. Approving signatures are based on the amount of the purchase requested. The higher the amount, the more signatures required.

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
On March 18, 2011 the IRS deemed The City of Russian Mission was out of compliance on federal taxes. The IRS stateed that The City of Russian Mission owes federal taxes for the second and fourth quarters of 2010, and needs to file for all quarters of 2009. An additional form requesting release of federal tax information from April 2008 to March 2011 was sent to the City of Russian Mission on June 14, 2011. This was not responded to, therefore it cannot be determined if the tax issue has been resolved. The state Department of Labor(DOL) was contacted June 17, 2011. DOL stated that The City of Russian Mission is not current on their Employment Security Contributions account. The March-April 2011 Lien Watch shows that The City of Russian Mission owes Alaska Employment Security Taxes. This tax information pertains to the management of the utilities only.

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 utility has a posted workers' compensation insurance policy from Alaska National Insurance Company for the period from 10/01/2008 through 10/01/2009. The insurance covers all employees of RUC including the operators in Russian Mission. All RUC employees follow the adopted personnel policy, which was reviewed by an attorney. Employees are 'at-will' hires and evaluations are performed after 90 days and one year. The blank evaluation form is attached to the position description and presented to the employee upon hire. All new hires attend a corporate orientation in Bethel for 2 1/2 days for instruction regarding company policies, procedures, and department specific orientation. On-site training is also provided. Job openings are posted with job titles and duties in the village at least one week if the manager deems expediency is necessary. Native and local hire is encouraged when possible. Applications are submitted to YKHC who completes background and reference checks. The personnel policy also allows temporary hires for short term projects. Training opportunities are provided to staff when money allows. YKHC, Office of Environmental Health operates the training program and presents four classes per year. These classes cover water/sewer related topics. The Remote Maintenance Worker also presents CEU training modules on site.

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 of Russian Mission signed a MOA with YKHC-RUC to operate the utility. The MOA was signed for two years with the option for renewal. YKHC-RUC has an advisory board that meets three times a year to recommend policy and procedures via letters of support to the YKHC Board of Directors. YKHC-RUC has the authority to set rates and adopt ordinances, policies, and procedures for the utility. The RUC manager is also diligent in personally attending city council meetings in Russian Mission. Recently RUC hired Lee Piper as project manager/accountant. Mr. Piper is responsible for overseeing the accounting procedures for all RUC communities. The YKHC finance department tracks and issues payroll. The utility has two certified operators. James Changsak is certified for Water Treatment operator in training (OIT), Wastewater Collection OIT, Wastewater Treatement OIT, and Water Distribution 1. John Changsak is certified as Water Distribution OIT and Water Treatment OIT. The system has received a certificate of public convenience and necessity from the Regulatory Commission of Alaska.

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
Current operator certifications may be found online. Safety training is provided in conjunction with regulatory scheduled operations training. The Russian Mission utility has not suffered any major problems or outages due to management issues. YKHC-RUC hires summer interns to complete the CCR reports. An additional assignment to the intern project was the completion of an inventory control and critical spare parts list. The utility has a large amount of inventory and critical spare parts on hand. They have not suffered loss of service due to lack of parts. With the stable labor force and frequent RMW on-site support, maintenance requirements are minimal.