Quarterly Report: 2008, January - March (Q3), Alakanuk

Elizabeth Manfred  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Agreement Date:
City of Alakanuk 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
The City of Alakanuk operates the piped water and sewer system, the central watering point, flush tank and haul system, and washeteria/sauna service. The City Council is the policy making body for the Utility. Construction began in 1995 to provide piped water and sewer to 170 homes and the school. In 1998, 83 homes, the school and teacher's housing were first connected. Today, there are 132 utility customers hooked up to the system. Water is derived from the slough, treated, stored in a tank, and piped to most of the community. New facilities include a water treatment plant, heated 300,000-gallon water storage tank, vacuum sewage plant, sewage lagoon, arctic piping and household plumbing. The new subdivision has been completed with all homes connected to the piped system. The new subdivison has been completed with all homes connected to the piped system. A pipeline under the river to provide service to a small number of customers on the north side was studied, but considered too expensive to build and operate. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
RUBA staff traveled with the Village Safewater (VSW)Engineer to Alakanuk in March to meet with city staff and complete a RUBA assessment of management capacity indicators. A sanitation project to install plumbing and hook approximately eight homes to the existing service has been on hold due to not meeting several essential indicators. RUBA met with the mayor, manager, water operators and tribal administrator to ask questions concerning the managment process for the utility and receive documentation of those policies and processes. The city now has an energetic administrator who has attended utility management training and adopted many of the new skills he learned. RUBA staff toured the water treatment plant which also houses the washeteria and saunas. Remodeling was underway in the women's sauna area with plans to remodel the men's sauna also. The building is very old yet well maintained. Concessions sold in the washeteria are an additonal revenue source for the city. The city meets all essential management indicators at this time. A VSW funded project will mobilize in May 2008 for service connections and house plumbing for homes that were moved out of the erosion zone. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff will monitor monthly finance reports and assist city accounting staff in developing an easier report format. RUBA will schedule another on-site visit to work with the manager on personnel issues.
Essential Indicators:
27 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
19 of 27
Total Score:
46 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
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.
Yes YTD expenditures are at a level equal to or below those budgeted.
Yes A monthly manager's report is prepared.
No Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
Monthly finance reports are prepared as two separate documents. RUBA staff will work with Alakanuk staff to develop a single simple report which will compile all finance information on one page and make it easier for the governing body to read and understand. The monthly expenditure report lists, by department, the adopted budget, the month-to-date, the year-to-date and the amount remaining. The revenue report is by month and year-to-date. RUBA staff will work with city staff to incorporate the adopted revenue budget in future reports. The city is current on paying all water/wastewater bills to Alaska Village Electric Coopertive (AVEC). The city has fuel storage capacity of 40,000 gallons. The utility fuel is metered with an average of 12,500 gallons used annually. Presently the utility serves 119 residential customers, 4 commercial customers, and 7 metered customers piped water and sewer. Three residents and one commercial customer receive regular water delivery.

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 issues joint monthly statements for both water and sewer. They are changing the collection procedure to shorten the 90 day grace period after a bill is issued and prior to disconnection. QuickBooks Pro is used for all accounting functions including payroll, accounts receivable and accounts payable. The utility opeartor also keeps a copy of any invoce submitted for payment and checks with the clerk to see if payment has been issued. This works as an internal check and balance system. When operators need to purchase items, they research vendor information and submit the request to administration. The rquest is checked against the budget and a purchase is approved or denied.

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
Recent IRS tax liens have been released and a repayment agreement signed and approved. The IRS states that the city is meeting the repayment schedule and has deemed the city compliant at this time.

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.
No 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.
No 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 of Alakanuk has a posted worker's compensation insurance policy from Umialik Insurance Company for the period of February 12, 2008 through February 12, 2009. This insurance policy covers utility staff and city workers. The city has an adopted Personnel Policy which was originally reviewed by Commerce. RUBA staff will work with the city to review it and suggest revisions as new employee/employer laws have changed. All staff are at-will hire. On-site training is initially provided when hired with travel and off-site training allowed and encouraged as funding permits.

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 is managed by the City of Alakanuk. The city council meets regulary and is active in enforcing colections and adopting new policies. Recently they researched utility revenues and expenses and determined user fees were not meeting expenses. A proposed rate increase was adopted and will begin May 1,2008. The collection policy is also being revised to shorten the grace period for non-payment/disconnection from 90 days to 45 days. The manager recently attended the first course (Introduction to Management of Rural Utilities) of the series of RUBA sponsored management classes in Bethel.

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
The City of Alakanuk currently operates a Water Treatment 2 system, a Water Distribution 2 system, and a Wasterwater Collection 1 system. They have three part-time operators who are all working toward varying degrees of certification. The lead operator was an opeartor for 24+ yaers but allowed hi certification to lapse. He will retake the test in Bethel in April. The Alakanuk system is on the Significant Non-Compliance list for Stage 1 and Surface Water violations. The system recently fully installed the necessary equipment for continuous recording or CFE turbity data, but they are still trying to work through some operational issues. RUBA will work with the city to draft a safety manual and assist in revising it to Alakanuk's needs.