Quarterly Report: 2011, July - September (Q1), Noorvik

Margaret Hansen  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Agreement Date:
City of Noorvik 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
Water is pumped from the Kobuk River to the water treatment/utility building, and stored in a tank. From there, a pressurized circulating system distributes water in utilidors. Groundwater wells have proven unsuccessful. Noorvik has a vacuum sewer system in which waste is carried by air instead of water. Vacuum pressure pumps the sewage to the 60,000-gal. collection and treatment plant. The system requires special toilets and water valves which collect wastewater from the sinks, toilets and showers. Over 100 homes, the schools and businesses are served. Funds have been requested to connect and plumb the remaining 16 unserved homes on the south side of town and along River Road. A new landfill and access road is under development. Funds have also been requested to construct a multi-purpose facility, including a new washeteria, recreation center, Head Start, day care center, a restaurant, Native Crafts production and a food processing plant. The community is interested in using wind energy.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Kotzebue RUBA traveled to Noovik in September to provide onsite assistance to the new administrator regarding financial reporting, tax reporting, and reviewed their sales tax ordinance to check for compliance. Research was also done to identify alternative revenue sources. It was discovered that Noorvik could have been charging Crowley Incorporated lighterage fees. RUBA staff assisted in writing a letter requiring they pay those fees. We also worked on their accounts receivable for garbage and landfill fees and a form to notify delinquent customers to work out a payment plan. RUBA staff worked with Noorvik staff to create a fuel inventory form to monitor how much they are using to allow charges to the correct departments. The varacity of water rates is dependent upon certifiying all expenses to provide the water. The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Water Monitoring Summary for the year was reviewed to make sure they keep up with the required sampling and dates. Staff provided assistance via phone coordinating with the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) after reviewing the Significant Non-Compliance (SNC) list, the water report on sampling. They had a copper first draw action level exceedance. DEC reported that it was slightly above normal.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Staff plans to travel back to Noorvik on January 24th to assist in training and trouble shooting of quickbooks and other financial management issues.
Essential Indicators:
18 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
13 of 27
Total Score:
31 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.
No Monthly financial reports are prepared and submitted to the policy making board.
No 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
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.
No Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
The City of Noorvik has adopted a balanced realistic budget listing all revenues and expenses of the utility. When requesting a copy of her monthly financial report, she got back from vacation to find her computer lost all data from November 29 to current. She is inputting all the information this week. In talking with Alaska Village Electric Cooperative (AVEC) though, she is 90 days past due on all her electric accounts but has purchased enough fuel to last until next year's fall barge. Because we have not seen the month of November or Decembers monthly financial report all sustainable indicators have not been met.

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.
No 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 administrator reported that no bills went out for the month of December to customers so have not followed their collection policy as well. They are utilizing QuickBooks now with an accounts receivable system in place to track customers accounts. Quickbooks also provides them with an accurate accounts payable system, payroll system to calculate payroll, cash receipts system and a cash disbursements system. They utilize their budget to categorize their chart of accounts in a usable manner. They use a purchasing system that requires approval prior to purchase comparing to budgeted amounts. They still have not been able to keep up with bank reconciliations at this time.

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.
No 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
Even though they use QuickBooks which accurately calculates, tracks, and report payroll tax liabilities, and they are current in filing tax reports, the previous administrator did not pay any taxes for the last two quarters and until she came back on board in November. she is hoping to work out an payment plan with the tax advocate.

Personnel System

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility has a posted workers compensation insurance policy in effect.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
No 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.
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.
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
According to AMLJIA, the City of Noorvik has renewed their insurance and are on a payment plan. The city has requested assistance in updating their personnel policies because the one they have is very old not reviewed by an attorney that we know of. They do have an adequate hiring process as well. They do have updated job descriptions I have on file. Due to staff turnover and change in council, the city has not been able to follow through with their personnel policies on evaluations. For the new hires, RUBA did not see any I-9 form filed in their personnel file nor were there letter of acceptance but the administrator was informed of them and will make sure this is done. The City staff has attended RUBA classes that were offered and their water plant operator has attended Kotzebue classes as well.

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 is the known entity by ordinance who owns the utility who has not been active in enforcing their policies. They hired the previous administrator who was trained by RUBA. She has a business background with quickbooks and supervisory experience who acts as the bookkeeper as well. She also has an operator who knows the system has received training by the engineers, the Remote Maintenance Worker and has a certiciate for water distribution.

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".
No The utility is not on the "Significant Non-Complier" (SNC) list.
No The utility maintains an inventory control list.
Yes The utility maintains a critical spare parts list.
Operation of Utility Comments
Both the main operator and alternate plan on attending the next session here in Kotzebue end of January and have been following the preventative maintenance plan for their existing facilities. The administrator does receive the operations and maintenance report from the operator and routinely spot checks the facilities including meeting with their engineer and reviewing the water monitoring summary with the operator to make sure they are sent in timely. No known safety meetings have been held. The Utility has not suffered any major problems that are unresolved so they are operating at the level proposed and have completed their consumer confidence report. Recently the operator ran out glycol so had not maintained his inventory but has critical spare parts on hand. They are currently on the SNC list because they are still struggling with TT violations for turbidity and had a first draw action level exceedance that has been resolved.