Quarterly Report: 2012, July - September (Q1), Buckland

Margaret Hansen  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Agreement Date:
City of Buckland 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
The water supply used by the City is taken from the Buckland River. It is treated with filtration and chlorination and stored in a central community storage tank. The water is then hauled to some homes by means of a light truck and small tanks. The residents are charged for this service. The community has a central washeteria, which is a combination laundromat, toilet and shower facility and provides a watering point for residents who haul their own water. The piped water and sewer system is under construction and is being built in phases. Six (6) homes, the clinic and city office have service. A new water storage tank and treatment plant are under construction. Various parts of town will come online in phases each year thru 2014, pending adequate funding.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
RUBA staff had traveled to Buckland to provide utility management training and assistance last quarter to help the community to meet essential and sustainable indicators of the RUBA assessment. The new user agreement the council passed include two key additions. One requiring each applicant to complete an Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend Assignment of Rights that transfers their dividend to the City in order to pay off all utility debts when a utility account becomes 90 days pas dur or be disconnected. The second requires to sign a work order form and pay 80% of the estimated cost for any utility maintenance or repairs within the limits of the applicant's property prior to such work being performed and pay the remaining 20% of the cost within 30 days. these provisions will help to ensure that the city can recover the costs of maintaining its infrastructure and will clarity the responsibilities of utility customers in Buckland. City officials and staff in Buckland are eager to provide expanded sanitation services to the communitiy and are making progress toward managing those services in a sustainable way. RUBA staff will monitor the success of the city's new service agreement and work order process in the coming months. Senator Lisa Murkowski traveled to Buckland in September to be there to flush the toilet for the first time. They had a very nice gathering at the school for her honoring her for all the work she has done to make this possible. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff will continue to monitor the progress of their collection rate and continue to assist in meeting all essential indicators and work on progress to meet the sustainable indicators as well.
Essential Indicators:
27 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
20 of 26
Total Score:
47 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
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
The city has just adopted a balanced realistic budget listing all the revenues and expenses for the utility. The city has provided me with copies of minutes and the latest monthly report that the council approved by motion showing that they are current in paying all water/wastewater electric bills and a financial plan to purchase an adequate supply of fuel. Although the city does not have funds saved away for major repair and replacement costs, they are receiving enough revenue to cover operating expenses. Currently they are receiving enough revenues to cover their expenses but the water/sewer department expenses exceed their revenue they receive to operate. RUBA staff traveled to Buckland and met with the council explaining the need to amend their residential application and user agreement requiring residents to assign over to the city enough of their family permanent dividends to pay their current debt before the water/sewer system will be turn on to their home. Out of the first 8 homes being connected this summer, two were very delinquent and have assigned two dividends so far. In reviewing the RUBA assessment with the administrator, he will start providing a written report to the council.

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 City passed a new collection policy and as of the first week of July have decided to cut customers off who are not current with their trash and sewage haul bill who they bill monthly. They still utilize quickbooks which has an accounts payable, payroll and cash disbursement systems that correctly calculates payroll, records incoming money and how it was spent including a purchasing system. Before purchases are made, they check the budget (which is their chart of accounts) using their monthly reconciled financial report to review before approving those expenditures.

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.
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
The city has no known past due liabilities at this time which shows that by using quickbooks they accurately calculate, track, deposit and report payroll tax liabilities timely.

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 city has renewed their insurance in effect until next June 2012, they now are insured by Alaska Public Entity Insurance. The city has an adopted personnel policy that was reveiwed by an attorney. They continue to use their job descriptions to use when evaluating staff per written personnel evaluation process allowing staff to grow by providing training opportunities as needed. They use the hiring process in their policies. When a new employee is hired they provide job orientations, and oversight especially during the probationary period to assure a smooth transition making sure their personnel file contains all the necessary documentation such as a completed I-9 form, job application and letter of acceptance.

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
No 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
They have passed a new water/sewer ordinance giving it authority to operate showing the council is the known entity that will operate their new water/sewer system who meets monthly following the open meetings act for all meetings. The new trained administrator and clerk who share the bookkeeping duties have been trained on the new policy who started enforcing it on July 1st. They also have an operator who is certified and attends all training sessions to further his certifications. RUBA will work on updating their organizational chart that reflects the current structure with their new water/sewer system coming on line.

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".
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
They currently have a certified operator who has certificates for Water Distribution Provisional, Wastewater Collection Provisional, Wastewater treatment Provisional and Water Treatment 1. During the drafting of the budget and working with the operator, he continues to ask for more training funds to be budgeted which the council honored. The operator is working with the Superintendant of the new water/sewer project on the new developed preventative maintenance plan who spot checks the facilities making sure that maintenance item are being completed. Safety meetings are being held daily as the project progresses. There has been no outages due to management issues that are unresolved so have not sufferred any major problems and are operating at the level proposed. The operator meets with the administrator daily and maintains an inventory and critical spare parts list. As of the April 2011 SNC list their system needs treatment plant upgrades to address TTHM RAA MCI. Village Safewater has recently submitted plans for upgrades to the existing Water Treatment Plant so the can improve performance of the existing filtration system until new filtration plant is contructed.