Quarterly Report: 2014, January - March (Q3), Deering

Margaret Hansen  
DCRA Regional Office:
Kotzebue regional office 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Northwest Arctic Borough 
Agreement Date:
City of Deering 
139 2013 Department of Labor Estimate 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Completed 
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
The City of Deering operates the piped wastewater and water haul system, as well as a central washeteria. The city council is the policy making body for the utility. Water is derived from the Inmachuk River; it is treated and pumped to a 400,000-gallon insulated storage tank. Residents pay to have water delivered to their homes. The city has purchased additional equipment to facilitate the delivery of water in an efficient manner. The wastewater system is a vacuum system that is piped to a lagoon. Upgrades have been completed to the water treatment plant and wastewater collection lines. The existing infiltration gallery has also been upgraded and these improvements support the existing water haul and vacuum wastewater system. An additional water storage tank was installed in 2006 and lines upgraded from the tanks to the water treatment plant. The city has a current DEC permit for the wastewater lagoon. DEC has requested updates to reflect design changes made during construction for future installation of water and wastewater upgrades. The feasibility study has been completed. Village Safe Water(VSW) is concerned with the appearance of a cave-in in the Wastewater Lagoon. The City still needs to put fencing around the sewage lagoon. The council will review it capital priority list for this legislative session and desires to have piped water which will be their number one priority. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
On January 15, LGS staff traveled to Deering to provide training and assistance to new utility manager. The previous utility manager had worked for 30 years and had not allowed anyone else to access to any files during that time. Kotzebue LGS staff worked with utility staff to search for journals in order to train her on how to prepare the monthly financial reports, locate the payroll journals and employee compensation records in order to train on year-end tax reporting. The latest monthly financial report found in the computer was for the month of September 2013. Journals could not located in the computer so LGS and city staff spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning mounds of unfiled paperwork to see if the journals used to prepare the monthly reports could be found. During this time it was discovered that no PCE reports were completed for the months of October to December 2013. LGS staff gathered the information to work on the reports and trained the city staff in completing the reports. LGS staff further assisted in preparing a draft budget for the utility board to review and adopt, as well as, provided training to the utility manager in creating an excel document for a computerized cash disbursements journal and how to complete bank reconciliation. Kotzebue staff contacted the city administrator after reviewing his monthly financial reports to provide him the corrected report with proper formulas. Kotzebue staff also provided him with information about the upcoming quickbooks workshop in Anchorage that the utility manager requested to learn more about.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Kotzebue staff will travel to train and assist utility staff in preparing their first fiscal year budget.
Essential Indicators:
26 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
26 of 27
Total Score:
52 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
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 is a partial ARUC community. ARUC bills for the water services and those systems connected to the water system. The city manages the washeteria, which provides a water point for the residents not on the piped system. The city subsidizes the water utility for the residents at $15,000 a year in order to keep its rates at the current level. Their collection rate is at 95 percent year to date. ARUC received fuel via barge in August 2013 to supply the utility for the year.

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 has adopted a collection policy. ARUC bills for the wastewater utility and the city invoices the sale of potable water. The city uses QuickBooks for accounts payable, cash receipts and cash disbursement. The city uses the budget as the chart of accounts. An excel document is prepared monthly reporting revenues and expenditures in comparison to the budget. Before purchases are made, this monthly report is used to gain approval to budgeted amounts.

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.
No 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 utilizes QuickBooks to accurately calculate, track and report payroll tax liabilities and currently uses a bank to provide payroll services for employees pay as well as tax payments. Payroll liabilities are paid as required. No tax liens are reported.

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's workers compensation insurance policy is current and paid in full expiring on June 30, 2014. The updated personnel policies are under review by the city attorney and will be presented to the administrator and council after final review. The city still has not received a final response to the review of policies by the attorney.

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 city council is the known entity who oversees the utility. The council has adopted ordinances to give it authority to operate. There is an organizational chart that reflects the current structure. At the council meetings the council complies with the open meetings act. Notices for meetings are posted at three public places at least five days in advance. The city has two operators. The main operator attended training and received certification for water distribution provisional. The alternate operator has attended training but still could not pass to become certified.

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 community wastewater system and plant are managed by ARUC. The City of Deering is on the SNC list for high DBP's, but has done well on monitoring. Village Safe Water is studying the source water in preparation for designing a new treatment system. No new information on the hardware of the water treatment plant has been received. The current treatment system still does not meet LT1 for Cryptosporidium remove but does meet SWTR Giardia removal requirements.