Quarterly Report: 2009, July - September (Q1), Atka

Julie Dirks  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Agreement Date:
City of Atka 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
The community system was constructed in 1978 and was expanded in 1982 to a new housing area. Water is supplied by a stream and wooden reservoir dam northwest of the City. It is stored in two 30,000-gallon water tanks before distribution. All 50 homes are connected to the piped water and sewer system and are plumbed. Sewage is piped to a central septic system. Wastewater flows untreated through outfall lines into Nazan Bay. Garbage is collected twice a week. The City has requested funds to increase water capacity, replace the water treatment system, replace connections, and treat the sewage outfall. A hydro-electric system at Chuniisax Creek will complete construction by 2010. The City of Atka assumed operation of the electric utility in 2007. Work began on extension and repavement of the Atka airstrip in summer of 2008; this work will be completed in 2009. Atka Pride Seafoods processing plant will be expanded to allow for processing of multi-species. A crab allocation was purchased by Atka Pride Seafoods and APICDA from Westward Seafoods. The crab will be processed in the local plant. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Documents were requested from the Administrator located in Anchorage to up-date the assessment. All documents were provided and an evaluation indicates that the City of Atka does not meet all essential indicators. A review of the accounts receivable report indicates that several residential customers have high outstanding balances meaning the collection policy is not being enforced. When a budget and financial statement for use the water/sanitation utility was requested, the City Administrator said she did not understand what was being asked for. Utility revenues and expenses are included in the overall budget but appear not to be separately tracked. An explanation was provided on how to prepare a budget that separates functions and how to track revenues and expenditures using QuickBooks classes. On October 3rd a copy of a water utility budget and financial statement was received from the City Administrator.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff will continue to be available to provide assistance for the essential and sustainable capacity indicators that are not being met by the City of Atka. RUBA staff will followup with the Administrator on collection issues that emerged during the previous quarter. Additional information concerning whether the City budget is being tracked by function will be obtained. RUBA staff will work to recruit City staff located in Atka to attend UTM Organizational Management training in Anchorage during December and a planned QuickBooks training.
Essential Indicators:
24 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
24 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
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
Currently, the City provides water and sewer treatment services with billing services separate from the electric. Residential electricity is charged through POWERSTAT system by using a pre-pay card system with the customer. The future plan is to have all services under one system with one payment. As of 9/30/08 no progress on using the POWERSTAT system to collect water/sanitation payments had been made. Atka is home to Atka Pride Seafoods and receives local fish tax revenues annually. Atka also receives significant revenues from fish taxes collected in the unincorporated area of the western Aleutians. The city provided a balanced budget. The balance sheet identifies reserves in Merrill Lynch, current assets of diesel and gasoline inventory, and values for fixed assets. Monthly financial reports provided to the governing body are Profit and Loss Budget vs. Actual. They identify year-to-date expenditures, adopted budget, and amount remaining over/under budget. A copy of the current utility budget and a utility financial statement was provided on October 3rd.

Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No 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 City accounting system uses online QuickBooks Pro. The City Administrator is responsible for overseeing accounting functions. She has an bookkeeping background, has operated her own business and pays attention to detail. She lives and maintains a city office in Anchorage and visits Atka when the need arises. Check writing and receipt of cash is handled by staff in the City office located in Atka. The Administrator prefers to use a numbered chart of accounts (COA). The Atka COA has balance totals for all assets, liabilities, and equity. The COA was drafted by the previous City Administrator and has been customized to the present Administrator's work style. Currently, it is detailed with the same expenditure items used in each department and given a different number for each department. The City does have an adopted purchasing system. The Mayor approves purchases within the scope of the adopted operating budget. Major purchases are approved by the City Council. A recent review of the accounts receivable for the water/sanitation utility indicates that there are several residential customers who are not paying for water and sewer services even though they are being billed regularly.

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 State DOL reports that the City of Atka in in compliance with ESC reporting and ESC tax payments as of June 30, 2008. IRS reports that the City is in compliance with quarterly reporting and deposits. Copies of 941/ESC quarterly reports for the quarters ending 9/07, 12/07, 3/08, and 6/08 were provided.

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 purchased a Workers Compensation policy through AML/JIA for the year July 1, 2008 through July 1, 2009. Employment recruitment is done within the city first. Every original appointment and every promotional appointment of permanent employees is subject to a probationary period of three months from the date of appointment. An evaluation of performance completed at the end of the probationary period and thereafter, on their anniversary date.

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.
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
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 Atka Administrator maintains an office in Anchorage and travels to Atka when necessary. The Mayor and City Council are responsible for daily supervision of staff including supervision of the Administrator. The Administrator's office is connected to Atka via fax, e-mail, and phone. The Administrator previously worked a number of years handling bookkeeping in her own business. The City has two operators, Both are certified in water and wastewater treatment until 12/31/2010. They each work full-time. They both have additional duties besides maintaining the water and sanitation systems. The Atka City Council meets monthly for regular meetings. The City Council schedules special meetings when the need arises. All meetings comply with the Open Meeting Act. The City has adopted a Water/Sewer Utility ordinance. The ordinance provides for flat rate service fees for four classes: residential, public facility, commercial, and contract. Customers pay a rate that covers a portion of the cost to provide the services and subsidizes the remaining operating cost with general funds. The city has adopted an organizational chart that identifies positions and duties for each position.

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
Both operators are certified until 12/31/2010 The water operators provide verbal reports to the Mayor. The city administrator provides written reports to the governing body. The 2007 Community Confidence Report was completed and distributed. The City Administrator will be actively working with the community to develop both an inventory control list and a critical spare parts list. The City Administrator attended the RUBA sponsored Financial Management for Utility Managers class and the Power Cost Equilization training in Anchorage, held February 11-15 and March 4-6, 2008.