Quarterly Report: 2014, July - September (Q1), Chignik

Barbara Higgins  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Agreement Date:
City of Chignik 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
Chignik is located on the south shore of the Alaska Peninsula on Anchorage Bay. The population is 91 residents, and the community is part of the Lake and Peninsula Borough. The city operates the water/wastewater utility. The water source to the community is a well and reservoir system. The reservoir is Indian Lake with the water rights being owned by the city. The reservoir has a 14 foot high dam and a 7,700 foot long pipeline that delivers water to the treatment facility where the water plant filters out turbidity with gravel filters. The system is out of date and needs upgrades to the plant's filtration system; this is due to the system's use of ground water. Chlorine is added to disinfect the water before it is pumped into the 200,000 gallon storage tank for use; 54 homes are connected to the system and several commercial facilities. The system is classed as a small water treatment system, water system number: AK2260228 with a current certified operator. The city owns and operates the Chignik Wastewater Treatment Facilities under permit 2003DB0096-1011. The maximum volume of this system is 86,400 gallons per day. Five lift stations move the wastewater into community septic tanks at the end of the treatment process; discharge into the ocean occurs on the outer edge of the mixing zone, via an outfall line. The city operates a class III landfill in the community and provides garbage hauls from city owned dumpsters placed throughout town that residents dump into.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
RUBA/LGS staff has had consistent contact with the city this reporting period. The city passed and submitted their budget to DCRA in June, is working on the codification of the municipal code and passing a personnel policy and procedures. The city clerk attended the RUBA Personnel Training in Anchorage this period. The election has been posted and is moving forward.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Based on this assessment, RUBA assistance to this community depends on the community meeting a baseline level of progress towards improvement. The council is encouraged to sign a RUBA Agreement that outlines the services this division will provide that stipulates the actions the city will take and continue to provide in order to receive the RUBA assistance.
Essential Indicators:
25 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
23 of 27
Total Score:
48 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
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 adopted the FY14 budget on June 8, 2013. A copy of the approved budget was submitted to the Division of Community and Regional Affairs as required by law. The budget includes an income line item of $62,000 for residential customers. This amount is based on a one hundred percent collection rate; the year to date collection rate is 95 percent. Monthly financial reports comparing actual year to date revenues and expenses to the budget are created and included in the agenda packets. A verbal financial report is given to the council; it is documented in the meeting minutes. YTD expenditures are exceeding revenues by 2,874.79.The city owns and operates the electric utility and makes the appropriate journal entries from the water/wastewater utility to pay its electric bills. When budget amendments are needed they are made, that transfer funds to line items that need the funds. The utility does not have a line item for Repair and Replacement expenses in the budget.

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.
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 utility bookkeeper uses QuickBooks Pro 2013 for financial recordkeeping, including all payroll records. The bookkeeper is proficient in the use of QuickBooks, all payroll records are up to date through August 2013. The utility clerk writes a receipt for any income received. A copy of every receipt is kept in a permanent receipt book. At the end of the week, new data from the receipt book is entered into the utility's computerized accounting system. All payments are made by check. Every check includes an amount, an expense account and a description of what the payment is for. Copies of paid invoices are kept in the vendor files. The utility's chart of accounts identifies all asset accounts (undeposited funds, bank accounts, and accounts receivable), all liability accounts (current, long-term and payroll liabilities), and fund balances. Income and expense accounts are identified in a manner that matches the income and expense line items in the budget. Bank reconciliations have been completed through August 2013. The utility does not require purchase orders for proposed purchases. There is a verbal understanding that all purchases that exceed $1,000 require the approval of the mayor.

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 city uses the QuickBooks Pro 2013 accounting program to accurately calculate, track, and report payroll tax liabilities. On September 12, 2013 RUBA staff received confirmation from the Department of Labor and the IRS that the city is deemed compliant with all tax reports and deposits. The utility is not found on the most recent Lien Watch report (July 2013).

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.
No 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 Notice of Insurance is posted in plain view in the city offices. According to the Notice of Insurance, workers compensation insurance is provided by the Alaska Municipal League Joint Insurance Association from July 1, 2013 to July 1, 2014. A check of the Division of Workman's Compensation website on September 19, 2013 confirmed the policy is in effect. A copy of the city's personnel policies, adopted October 14, 2006, is on file with RUBA staff. Job descriptions are up to date and expressly outline the utility employee's required duties. RUBA staff has copies of the job descriptions for the utility on file. The city does have a written evaluation process. Employees state they have not been formally evaluated annually. The hiring process is described in the utility's personnel policies adopted October 14, 2006. Personnel folders are current and available for all employees. The probationary period or introductory period for new hires is three months, as described in the personnel policy. New hires are supposed to be evaluated at the end of the introductory period. The utility budget includes an appropriation of $1,000 for staff training.

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 utility ordinance identifies the city as the owner and operator of the utility. Council meeting minutes were provided to confirm that the council reviews policies and rates on an annual basis and makes changes as needed. Meeting minutes are current through August 2013. The city's mayor fills the role of administrator. The mayor competently develops and oversees the utility budget, oversees the utility operator and the utility clerk, and has historically provided monthly reports to the governing body. The utility bookkeeper has held the position for a number of years and is experienced on the job. She is competent and maintains all of the accounting systems in a professional and timely manner. The facility is a Small Water System/Treated. According to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation website, the primary utility operator has the required level of training and certification for this system. The primary operator has a Water Treatment-Provisional and Water Distribution-Provisional certifications that expire December 31, 2015, but does not have the required number of CEUs for renewal. There is a backup operator that is not certificated. The city adopted a utility ordinance in August 2011. RUBA staff has a copy of the signed ordinance on file. The city has an organizational chart that is updated as needed. A copy of the organizational chart is on file. Meeting minutes and agendas have been submitted though August 2013 to confirm that agendas are posted, and meetings that did occur were open to the public as required by the Open Meetings Act.

Operation of Utility

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility operator(s) are actively working towards necessary certification.
No 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".
No 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 utility states a preventative maintenance plan was developed by the Remote Maintenance Worker, a copy was not available and RUBA does not have a copy on file. The mayor spot checks the utility on a routine basis. The utility does not have a safety manual on file nor participates in or holds safety meetings. The mayor receives verbal updates weekly from the operator. RUBA staff received a copy of the 2012 CCR certificate. The utility is on the SNC list: The SNC List reports: System still having issues with chlorine pump and maintaining 0.8 mg/L state entry point chlorine minimum. The system does not add coagulant prior to pressure sand filters and does not have a master meter. The system has been actively working on maintaining the point of entry residual distribution at the required levels, but has pump issues. To prevent unnecessary outages the utility maintains an inventory control list and a critical spare parts list, it is on file with RUBA staff.