Quarterly Report: 2014, January - March (Q3), Port Lions

Port Lions 
Jedediah Smith  
DCRA Regional Office:
Anchorage regional office 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Kodiak Island Borough 
Agreement Date:
City of Port Lions 
188 2013 Department of Labor Estimate 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Completed 
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
The BIA and Indian Health Service built the community sanitation system in 1965. Over 100 residences are connected to the city's piped water and wastewater systems and 95 percent of these have complete plumbing. The Branchwater Creek Reservoir provides water, which is treated and stored in a 125,000-gallon tank. The existing dam is weakening; funding has been provided to make repairs. A local priority is to construct a new 500,000-gallon dam on the creek. A new landfill site has been identified. Kodiak Electric Association provides electricity. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
On January 10, RUBA staff traveled to Port Lions at the request of the Port Lions City Council and clerk to provide a presentation on reading financial reports and the importance of listing all utility revenues and expenses in the budget. RUBA staff met with the mayor, clerk and bookkeeper prior to the council work session to discuss goals and outcomes of the meeting. The mayor expressed concern about the long term financial sustainability in the community and a desire to identify new revenue opportunities. RUBA staff recommended a utility rate study to ensure the water rates are appropriate. The Port Lions City Council last increased rates in September by a modest amount. During the work session, RUBA staff, the clerk and the bookkeeper explained the difference between an enterprise fund and the general fund, and how the enterprise fund contributes to the overall general fund, including administration costs. Members of the council, the clerk and the mayor all discussed concerns about the importance of the single audit, which is required for a ferry dock currently under construction and expected to be completed in the summer of 2014. RUBA staff agreed to provide a utility rate study for the next council meeting in February and also to assist with the FY15 draft budget in March. Additionally, RUBA staff will provide information on upcoming RUBA utility management training opportunities for the council and staff . On March 20, RUBA staff traveled to the City of Port Lions to assist with the drafting of the FY15 budget. The current utility budget revenues include customer utility rates that cover expenses for the utility as well as provide some administrative costs for other departments in the city. RUBA staff and the Port Lions mayor, clerk and bookkeeper discussed every city department and found some areas in several departments in which money could be saved. However, despite a balanced utility budget, diligent cost savings measures and modest expenditures in other departments, the city will still need to access its savings to balance the FY15 budget. The city is considering developing a new gravel sales enterprise that would generate sufficient revenue to balance the budget. That enterprise will require the purchase of equipment that is not currently in the FY14 budget. RUBA staff recommended the city hold a special meeting to discuss this purchase, as it is beyond the authorized limit for the mayor to make without prior council approval. RUBA staff also reminded the mayor that if the equipment is not in the budget, a non-code budget revision ordinance would need to be approved by the council.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Essential Indicators:
26 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
22 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
No 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 its FY14 budget, that includes the enterprise fund budget, with Ordinance 2013-03 on July 11, 2013. The water and wastewater budget has an income of $80,241 and expenditures of $80,240. The budget is realistic and has the payroll, and all other normal operating expenditures for a utility enterprise. The city has an accountant on contract from Kodiak that handles utility financial transactions. The accountant provides monthly financial reports to the council generated from QuickBooks. Fuel is bought from Kizhuyak Oil on an as needed basis and has a financial plan to purchase fuel throughout the year. There is a line item for repairs and maintenance on the budget, but there is no separate account for repair and replacement funds. The city has revenues that exceed the expenditures within the budget. The accountant provides monthly reports to the mayor and council. Budget amendments are done as needed. According to the most recent November 2013 Profit and Loss report, the utility is on track with budgeted spending and revenue for the water utility.

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
In the Port Lions Code of Ordinances is Title 8: City Utilities, Solid Waste and Sewer Disposal that addresses the water and wastewater utility. Within code, the city has Title 8, Chapter 01, Section 220: Consequences of Non-Payment of Service Charges that addresses the collections policy. The city bills customers for water, wastewater and refuse on a single statement on the 24th of each month. The accounts receivable report generated from QuickBooks shows the highest amount due to the city for residential utilities for over 90 days is $797.The accounts payable report generated from QuickBooks shows all accounts the city owes to venders. There are some accounts that are grant funded on the report that show a high balance. The city utilizes QuickBooks 2010 and has an accountant on contract that travels to the city from Kodiak regularly to handle payroll. The city uses a sales book to generate a receipt for customers paying in cash and the receipt is also entered into QuickBooks. QuickBooks is used to record all cash disbursements. The Account Listing is the chart of accounts for the utility and has all bank accounts, accounts receivable, assets, accounts payable, credit cards, liabilities equities, income and expense accounts. The city uses QuickBooks for the bank reconciliations. The city has in the code of ordinances, Title 6, Chapter 05: City Purchasing Agent who is the mayor or the mayors designee.

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
A signed authorization to request tax information was submitted to the IRS on March 24. The IRS granted tax clearance to the City of Port Lions on March 26. The Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Employment Security Divisions granted Port Lions tax clearance on March 17. Port Lions is not on the January 2014 lien watch.

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 a posted worker's compensation insurance policy through AML/JIA in effect and posted on a community bulletin board in the city office. The clerk stated the city has an adopted personnel policy. Employee personnel folders are thorough and complete. The utility's probationary period for new hires is three months.

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
In the Port Lions Code of Ordinances is Title 8: City Utilities, Solid Waste and Sewer Disposal that addresses the water and wastewater utility. The policy making body is active and informed in making and enforcing utility policies. The mayor and clerk are knowledgeable about the utility's policies, activities, and financial health. The utility has two certified operators for the water utility. The city is working on the policies and once completed an organizational chart will be drafted. The city meets as required by ordinance and follows the Open Meetings Act by posting meeting notices in three public places 24 hours prior to the meeting.

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.
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".
Yes The utility is not on the "Significant Non-Complier" (SNC) list.
No The utility maintains an inventory control list.
No The utility maintains a critical spare parts list.
Operation of Utility Comments
The primary operator is certified in Water Treatment 2 that expires on December 31, 2013; Water Distribution 1 that expires December 31, 2013. The operator has fulfilled all CEU requirements for certificate renewal. There is an alternate that has the Water Treatment 1 and Distribution Provisional certifications that expire on December 31, 2015. The Operations and Maintenance Manual was prepared by the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, Division of Environmental Health and Engineering, Department of Tribal Utility Health in July 2009. Maintenance is in chapter seven of the manual for the water treatment plant. The water operators hold informal safety meetings on a daily basis. Meetings include an overview of the daily operations and possible hazards between operators, but are not recorded. There have been no major problems or outages due to unresolved management issues. The operator provides updates to the council with written reports. The 2010 CCR was generated and distributed to water utility customers and posted in three public places. The water utility is not listed on the current October 2013 SNC List. The utility does not have an inventory control list or a critical spare parts list.