Quarterly Report: 2012, January - March (Q3), 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 has entered into a billing assistance program with 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 sewer 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 sewage main, which drains into a small, diked lake one-half mile northwest of the city. The sewer main, lift station, and manholes have been replaced last summer. The effluent is chlorinated before discharge. ANTHC found funds to complete the new sewage lagoon last summer. The new water tank and treatment plant projects are completed. Also a project to replace a protion of the community aged water and sewer mains and services is currently 60% complete with construction to recommence in may 2012. A new waste heat recovery system for the water treatment plant and other community buildings is currently in design with construction estimated to start 7/1/2012. Construction of service lines to 5 new Norhtwest Inupiat Housing Authority homes has been funded by the housing authority which will begin in May 2012. In addition, an update to the existing sanitation facilities master plan was started in August 2011 and will be completed by April 2012. As of April 1 Shungnak is on ARUC billing assistance program. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
RUBA staff worked with the administrator via email, fax and phone updating her on the RUBA assessment trying to her to get caught up on financial reports and sending in the sign tax authorizations. Kotzebue staff also contacted the fuel vendor for the community to get an update on their fuel supply. They have been receiving regular shipments of gas and diesel from Everts and have no problems being able to cover those costs. Kotzebue staff had been in contact with the Internal Revenue Sharing in preparation of her trip to Shungnak to find out that they owe $43,611 for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th quarters of 2011 that IRS forced filed. RUBA staff contacted the administrator to report this and offer any assistance. She had just made a $30,000.00 payment in January. On February 22, RUBA Kotzebue staff traveled to Shungnak to provide training and assistance to the city administrator and clerk in meeting the unmet RUBA essential management indicators. RUBA staff worked with the administrator and new clerk in balancing yearend tax reports and completing amended prior year tax reports to balance. City staff was not aware of the reduction in the employee costs for social security from 6.2 to 4.2% in 2011. Kotzebue RUBA staff trained the clerk on how to determine the amount each employee would be reimbursed. RUBA staff also worked with the administrator in completing corrected W-2c's. RUBA staff contacted the IRS who informed them that President Obama did sign into legislation an extension of the tax break until December 31, 2012. In addition, RUBA staff reviewed with city staff the RUBA agreement, which had expired. A new agreement must be brought forward to the council for review and approval. If signed, the agreement would give RUBA the authority to assist in meeting the RUBA assessment management indicators and the ability for RUBA staff to provide onsite assistance quarterly. RUBA staff also provided assistance with a new lease from the telephone company who would like to lease more space, a letter to the Shungnak IRA regarding their unpaid rent and the need to do bank reconciliations. Kotzebue staff was informed the the Shungnak City Council has signed a RUBA Assistance Agreement. The agreement between RUBA staff and the city ensures an on site technical assistance visit quarterly by Kotzebue RUBA staff to provide training and assistance. The city agrees to provide RUBA staff access to all city documents and to ensure that a minimum or two city staff will be available for training.The main goal of the on site assistance is to assist the city in meeting management deficiencies identified in a management assessment performed by RUBA staff. Meeting all essential indicators listed in the management assessment is a requirement by funding agencies prior to construction of sanitation grant funded infrastructure. Management concepts taught by RUBA staff may also be applied build capacity in all city departments and functions. The Remote Maintenance Worker has traveled to Shungnak last quarter to go over the water/sewer main project; to look at and work on non functioning boiler and to talk with operator about winterization.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Kotzebue staff will work with the administrator in completing her monthly financial reports and other essential indicators. She has requested assistance with financial management so staff will plan to travel to Shungnak in May or June 2012.
Essential Indicators:
18 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
15 of 26
Total Score:
33 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.
No Monthly financial reports are prepared and submitted to the policy making board.
No The utility is current in paying all water/wastewater electric bills.
No The utility has on hand a year's adequate fuel supply or it has a financial plan to purchase an adequate supply.
No 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.
No YTD revenues are at a level equal to or above those budgeted.
No YTD expenditures are at a level equal to or below those budgeted.
No A monthly manager's report is prepared.
N/A Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
All revenues are listed in the realistic utility budget submitted for 2012, but have not received her latest monthly financial report and no minutes verifying that they were submitted to the council to know that they are receiving enough revenues to operate or that they still have the funds available to purchase fuel for the remainder of the fiscal year. Since no financials have been reviewed it is unknown if she is paying her electric bill. It is unknown whether or not she had prepared a monthly manager's report.

Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No 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.
No 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 she bills customers on a regular basis, has adopted a collection policy, it is unknown if she is actively following it without the minutes showing review of their finances or that the council has their regular meetings. The administrator reports that she manually records all cash receipts, cash disbursements and payroll onto the Northwest Arctic Borough Accounting system ledgers which correctly calculates payroll and keeps their employee file records, it is that she has not been able to complete her monthly financial reports this last quarter. She uses her budget as her chart of accounts which identifies categories but without the financial reports am unable to say that bank reconciliations have been completed and that she is using a purchasing system.

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.
Yes 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
She has a manual system that accurately calculates, tracks and reports payroll tax liabilities. RUBA has received her signed tax authorizations back showing that she is not in compliance with federal and state taxes. She is listed on the lien watch for unpaid Alaska Employment Security Tax in the amount of $18,480.00. In talking with the administrator she stated she has paid the Internal Revenue Sharing $30,000.00 in the last month so is making strides to get her liabilities paid.

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 administrator has renewed her insurance changing over to Alaska Municipal League Joint Insurance for a more affordable rate which she posted and in effect until June 2012 which she has paid in full when she received her revenue sharing. The council adopted personnel policies that she had reviewed by AML which includes an hiring process, evaluation process that ties to the job description which she has on file for all employees. The personnel folders contain an I-9 form, their job application and letter of acceptance. She provides orientation, job oversite and evaluations on all employees which she has on file and provides them training opportunities as well but she has had difficulty keeping on 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 adopted an ordinance to give it authority but has not been active in following through with their policy so has joined the ARUC billing assistance. They have adopted an organizational chart that reflects there current structure. They have an administrator who has been there for over 20 years who handles all the bookkeeping. The operator has a certificate for water treatment and recently for wastewater lagoon. She has hired a new clerk that she is training. Without the minutes adopting the finances, it is unknown if they have been meeting as required or compling 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
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.
No 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 wastwater lagoon. He will attend the next training session here in Kotzebue that is budgeted for. The administrator routinely spot checks and meets with the operator to make sure that routine maintenance is being completed and is operating at the level proposed. The operator reports that he does maintain an inventory and critical spare parts list. She has distributed the Consumer Confidence Report and is not on the Significant Non-Complier list.