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

Community:
Nikolaevsk 
Staff:
Glen Hamburg  
DCRA Regional Office:
Anchorage regional office 
Gov't Type:
Community Council 
Borough:
Kenai Peninsula Borough 
Agreement?
Yes 
Agreement Date:
6/15/2006 
Entity:
Nikolaevsk Incorporated 
Population:
279 2013 Department of Labor Estimate 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Completed 
Assessment Date:
6/1/2006 
Exp Date:
6/15/2008 
Last Updated:
3/13/2014 
Community Sanitation Overview:
Nikolaevsk is located in the Kenai Peninsula Borough near the community of Anchor Point. Nikolaevsk itself is not incorporated as a municipality; rather, the non-profit corporation Nikolaevsk, Inc., which is organized under Chapter 10.20 of state statute, works to provide certain local services to community residents. A new water treatment building, water mains, and household water service lines were installed back in 1997. Forty-nine residences, plus the school, and the community-wide fire hydrants are connected to the water system and the majority of homes are fully plumbed. Eighty percent of households use wastewater tanks for wastewater disposal. Two subdivisions, Nahodka and Kluchevaya, are located outside of the main hub of Nikolaevsk. These areas have an independent water system that taps two local springs. The community has asked for funding to remedy failing individual wastewater tanks. A Kenai Peninsula Borough refuse transfer site is located in Anchor Point, at mile 157 of the Sterling Highway. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
RUBA staff was not able to contact utility representatives this quarter directly. Nonetheless, RUBA staff sent invitations to utility management trainings to Nikolaevsk, Inc. Until up-to-date information concerning the management of the community's sanitation utilities is provided to RUBA staff, relevant indicators in this report have been marked 'No'. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff will be making additional attempts to contact utility representatives to propose conducting an updated on-site utility management assessment.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
2 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
1 of 27
Total Score:
3 of 53

Finances

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No 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.
No The utility is current in paying all water/wastewater electric bills.
No 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
No current information about the corporation’s financial management practices have been made available to RUBA staff. Indicators in this section have therefore been marked ‘No’.

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.
No An accounts receivable system is in place which tracks customers and reports past due accounts and amounts.
No An accounts payable system is in place.
No The payroll system correctly calculates payroll and keeps records.
No A cash receipt system is in place that records incoming money and how it was spent.
No The utility has a cash disbursement system that records how money was spent.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
No 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.
No 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
It has been previously reported that the utility uses QuickBooks for all accounting processes and that utility staff are proficient in using the software. However, no recent supporting documentation has been provided to confirm that the accounting systems considered in this section are indeed in place and are functioning appropriately.

Tax Problems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No 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.
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
RUBA staff has not been given signed authorization to verify the utility's federal tax filings and deposits and the State’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development has not given clearance for the corporation’s employment security (ESC) tax filings and deposits either. Relevant indicators in this section have been marked ‘No’ until such conformation is received. The utility is not, however, listed in the November-December Lien Watch report.

Personnel System

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No 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.
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.
No 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.
No The utility provides training opportunities to staff as needed and available.
Personnel System Comments
RUBA staff confirmed on March 13, 2014 that the utility has a valid workers’ compensation insurance policy through Alaska National Insurance Company; however, it is not known whether proof of coverage is posted as required. Utility staff have attended RUBA utility management trainings in the past, though without a copy of the corporation's current operating budget, board meeting minutes, or personnel policies, it is not possible to determine whether the utility continues to provide training opportunities to staff as needed and available. Sufficient supporting documentation has not been provided to substantiate other indicators in this section.

Organizational Management

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No 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.
No The utility has an adequately trained manager.
No The utility has an adequately trained bookkeeper.
Yes The utility has an adequately trained operator or operators.
No 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.
No The policy making body meets as required.
No The utility complies with the open meeting act for all meetings.
Organizational Management Comments
The policy making body has, at least in the past, supported its staff receiving training from the RUBA program. Yet as described in the previsous section, it is unclear wheather all current staff have appropriate training or whether the policy-making body is active in monitoring the management of the community's sanitation services. The State's Department of Labor and Workforce Development recognizes three operators in Nikolaevsk. Theprimary operator is certified through 2016 in Class 2 Water Treatment and through 2015 in Class 1 Water Distribution. A part-time uperator is provissionally certified in water treatment and distribution. The backup operator has no certification. Still, RUBA staff has not had the opportunity to determine whether even the certified operators are adequately trained.

Operation of Utility

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility operator(s) are actively working towards necessary certification.
No 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.
No 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.
No The operator provides status reports to the manager on a routine basis.
No 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
The information concerning the utility operators described in the Organizational Management section of this report demonstrate that they are actively working toward their necessary certification. The utility is also not listed on the January 2014 Significant Non-Complier (SNC) list. However, supporting documentation for the other indicators in this section has not been provided to RUBA staff.