Quarterly Report: 2010, April - June (Q4), Deering

Margaret Hansen  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Agreement Date:
City of Deering 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
The City of Deering operates the piped sewer and water haul system, as well as the 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 sewage system is a vacuum system that is piped to a lagoon. A new washeteria, water treatment plant, and sewage collection lines are completed. An additional water storage tank was completed in 2006 and upgraded lines from the tanks to the water treatment plant are still planned. The City has a DEC permit for the sewage lagoon, but DEC wants them to update it to reflect design changes made during construction. RUBA is working with the engineer and DEC to allow time for an in depth study to determine whether the system can be fixed, or needs to be replaced.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Kotzebue RUBA worked with the long time adminstrator who came back to work after 6 months or so to get caught up with her monthly financial reports. When she got back to work she could not find any sign of the quickbooks program so reinstalled it and inputted all the information from the last time she was their using her old back up file. She provided RUBA with monthly reports up to May 10 which she reviewed and made minor changes due to formula problems. RUBA staff also followed through with the school district to get them to pay the old water tank fill last October. Kotzebue RUBA picked up the check and deposited so she can make her payroll deposits. RUBA also assisted the administrator in completing her energy efficiency grant application to do upgrades in the city office building which is the only lease space in town. A councilmember called to let me know that they hired a new city clerk and had believes that the administrator is moving to Kotzebue to work. He wanted me to travel to provide assistance with their budget and train the clerk which RUBA has to schedule to do. He reported that they have an overdrawn account so RUBA recommended they reconcile their account, deposit all money and checks on hand, check out their aging report to see who owes them money including sales tax. The new clerk called to see if I had an electronic copy of their code of ordinances which was lost when their computer crashed. I only had a copy on a floppy disk so found someone in NANA IT who is going to transfer it onto a diskette for me. The Deering IRA showed up at the quickbooks hotline office in May. They tried several methods to read the file so had to just get someone in Deering to send them a protable file in order to get ready for an audit soon. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Kotzebue RUBA has been requested to travel to Deering this next quarter to train new administrator and clerk.
Essential Indicators:
19 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
14 of 27
Total Score:
33 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
Although they adopted a balanced realistic budget those listed all revenues and expenses for the utility, monthly financial reports were not doen timely so in the end they found out that utility bills were not being paid on time and that they were not receiving revenues to cover their expenses. Luckily they had purchase enough fuel to last them until this fall when the barge comes in and have a plan to fill their 10,000 gallon tank this fall. They do not have funds budgeted to cover repair and replacement costs except for small emergency repairs mostly because revenues or not equal nor or their expenditures equal or below those budgeted. Due to turnover they have not done any budget amendments and have had sporatic manager's report.

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
Due to high turnover, the council had not been meeting regularly so policies are not actively being followed and bills are not sent out on a regular basis. They do utilize quickbooks which gives them information on accounts receivable, payable, payroll, records the money and how it was spent. Once reconciliations were completed, the administrator did provide monthly financial reports in comparison to their budget which they use as their chart of accounts. She does receive approval prior to purchasing using a check request system checking to make sure they still have funds budgeted for those expenditures.

Tax Problems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility has a system to accurately calculate, track, and report payroll tax liabilities.
No 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
The city uses QuickBooks for payroll and to report payroll tax liabilities but there is no documentation at this time on whether they are making deposits are filing tax reports at this time.

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.
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
RUBA has confirmed with AML/JIA that they did renew their policy which they will pay in full using their community revenue sharing. Although the city has adopted a personnel policy reviewed by AML, has an adequate hiring process, provides training to staff as needed and they do have adequate job descriptions for all positions, due to turnover, they have not done evaluations on a timely manner and no one to provide the orientation when someone is hired.

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.
No 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 of Deering adopts necessary ordinances who understand that they own the entity. Because of turnover in staff, they have not been able to meet regularly so RUBA does not know if they have been active in enforcing the utility policy. I understand they hired the previous administrator back who has had over five years of experience overseeing the operations of the city who does all the bookkeeping. The operator lost his certification last year who will work to restore his certification planning to attend the training here in Kotzebue in april. He has worked for the city for three years now so knows the operation and maintenance of the facilities. They have an organizational chart this is posted in the city office as well.

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
No 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.
No 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
There is no certified operator listed at this time but the current operator will attend the next session in Kotzebue. He has worked for the city the last year and is following the preventative maintenance plan but no safety meetings have been held. He does maintain and inventory and critical spare parts list. It is unknown that spot checks are being conducted without an administrator at this time and a new clerk. No known outages due to management issues so they are operating a the level of service proposed. Without an administrator and a new clerk and council not holding meetings regularly, the operator has not been able to provide status reports on a routine basis, they have completed their CCR but are still on the SNC list.