Quarterly Report: 2011, April - June (Q4), Stebbins

Iura Leahu  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Agreement Date:
City of Stebbins 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
Major improvements have been funded and planned for many years to provide a piped water and sewer system, with household plumbing. Residents currently haul water and deposit honeybucket waste in bins. During the summer, water is derived from Big Clear Creek and is treated and stored in a 1,000,000-gallon and 500,000-gallon steel water storage tank. There is a central watering point at the washeteria, distributed from the tanks via plastic pipelines. A reservoir is planned in order to alleviate winter water shortages. DEC has approved the landfill for use, although it is not permitted. Refuse is collected by the City from central bins. Electricity is provided by Alaska Village Electric Cooperative. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
The RUBA program has filled the vacant position of RUBA staff in December 2010. Nome RUBA staff has had phone and email contact with the city administrator this last quarter. The utility has not had any major financial, operational or managerial issues. However, due to lack of year-to-date monthly financial reports, the financial picture of the city and utility services is not clear. In April of 2011, the city administrator attended and completed the 32-hours Financial Utility Management class. The city has not adopted its FY12 budget.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
-An on-site RUBA assessment will be conducted late in summer 0f 2011. -Nome RUBA staff will work with the Stebbins city administrator to help the city meet the essential indicators it did not pass and to adopt a balanced realistic budget. -RUBA staff recommends that the city administrator attend a RUBA sponsored Quickbooks Pro training in Nome to continue honing her skills with QBP. The new city clerk should attend as well. -Utility operator will need to be certified at the level necessary for the city-owned utilities. -Review and use a monthly financial report in Excel Spreadsheet recommended by RUBA. At the least, the format should have a budget category, current budget amounts, monthly revenues and finances, Year-To-Date (YTD) total and balance for rest of the fiscal year. Nome RUBA staff is willing to work with the city to meet the goals identified and willing to travel to the community at its request.
Essential Indicators:
18 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
19 of 27
Total Score:
37 of 53


Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes All revenues and expenses for the utility are listed in the utility budget.
No The utility has adopted a balanced realistic budget.
No 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.
No 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.
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.
Yes A monthly manager's report is prepared.
Yes Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
The city of Stebbins adopted the FY 11 budget on May 27, 2010. A copy of the approved budget was submitted to DCRA. According to the budget, the total revenues exceed expenditures by $341,678. However, the water and sewer budgeted expenses surpass revenues by $54,066. The budget does not identify any source of revenue to reconcile the difference. Nome RUBA staff did not receive monthly financial reports from the city; therefore, it is unclear whether the utility services are running a deficit at this time. The FY 11 budget, however, shows that washeteria and garbage and landfill utility services have expenses that exceed revenues, $14,952 for washeteria and $20,159 for garbage and landfill respectively. Lack of financial information indentifying sources of revenue used to address the difference is an indication that the utility has adopted an unbalanced and unrealistic budget. According to the city administrator, however, the city uses the Community Revenue Sharing (CRS), Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) and Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation Community Benifit (NSEDC CBS) grants to cover the expenses incurred by the utility services provided by the city. Without year-to-date monthly financial reports, it is not possible to have a clear understanding of the financial standing of the city and its utilities. The city ordered fuel and there is a year's worth of fuel oil which is adequate to last for the winter. The city used funds from NSEDC's CBS Program funds.

Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No The utility has adopted a collection policy and actively follows it.
No 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 still has not actively followed its collection policy, although it continues to provide trash and honey bucket haul services. The city still has not billed customers for the services for over a year. The city administrator said she was not billing the trash/honey-bucket haul service customers because the council is not pursuing the issue. But, the new city administrator reported that the city has been taking steps to collect the unpaid money.

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 is current on depositing payroll tax liabilities to IRS and Employment Security Contributions (ESC). The city administrator has experience with payroll recordkeeping and filing tax reports and making tax deposits.

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.
No 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.
No 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's insurance and workers compensation coverage is through Alaska Municipal League Joint Insurance Association (AMLJIA). The city uses funds from the Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation's Community Benefits Share program to pay for the coverage. The city has hired a new city clerk. The new city clerk has some experience with her duties and responsibilities. She is learning to use Quickbooks Pro from the city administrator, who has experience using it.

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
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
The city council acts as the utility board. The city hold municipal elections on the 1st Tuesday of October. There are three city council vacancies on ballot this year. The city council will need to enforce the trash and honeybucket billing policy.

Operation of Utility

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No 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".
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 operator will need to work toward renewing his sanitation certificates that expired a few years ago. The city is still on the Significant Non-Complier list for a Stage 1 violation and for SWTR.