Quarterly Report: 2010, January - March (Q3), Teller

Community:
Teller 
Staff:
Leroy Seppilu  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of Teller 
Population:
256  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
5/10/2010 
Community Sanitation Overview:
Teller does not have a water/sewer utility. Water is hauled from the Gold Run River (20 miles away) by the City water truck, and delivered to home storage tanks, during the summer. In the winter, treated water is delivered from a large storage tank at the washeteria, or melt ice is used from area creeks. A few residents use their own ATV's or snowmachines to haul water. The school operates its own sewer system. Sixty-seven residents and 15 businesses use honeybuckets, which are hauled by the City. A few homes and facilities have septic tanks.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Nome RUBA staff traveled to Teller at twice during this quarter. The first trip RUBA staff traveled with two Village Safe Water engineers and the newly assigned engineer was introduced to the city council during the regular meeting. RUBA staff introduced a new monthly financial report that lists all the months for the fiscal year and is easier to compare with the current and previous months. Nome RUBA staff traveled to Teller March 10-12, 2010 to work with the city clerk to set up a new monthly financial report format in Excel. The city is in the process of restarting billing for the trash and honey-bucket haul services. The city has at least 64 residential customers charged at $35 a month and 10 commercial customers charged at $50 a month. These revenues will be included in the financial reports when the actual billing begins. The city is working with Alaska Municipal League-Joint Insurance Association (AMLJIA) to purchase general liability insurance and workers' compensation coverage. The city has also reported they have completely paid off the past due tax liabilities with IRS, using funds from Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation's Community Benefits Share Program. RUBA staff will work with the city and IRS to get the city's name off the Lien Watch publication. While onsite, RUBA staff learned that the Teller Native Corporation may run out of fuel oil again sometime in April, 2010. The corporation does not have enough fuel storage capacity to last through the year. This has been an on-going issue for the last several years. RUBA staff will monitor the situation.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
*Continue to work with the city clerk and city council to implement Quickbooks Pro. *Have the city clerk and office aide participate in the next RUBA-sponsored Quickbooks Pro training. *Continue implementation of the new monthly financial report format with complete usage by the first month of the new quarter. *Review collection strategies for the sanitation services.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
16 of 24
Sustainable Indicators:
17 of 26
Total Score:
33 of 50

Finances

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.
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.
Yes A monthly manager's report is prepared.
Yes Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
The Teller City Council has reviewed the FY10 budget and is in the process of revising most of it. The city clerk has also been preparing basic monthly financial statements, starting from October, 2009, with revenues received and expenditures spent. There was sporatic earnings and spending for the months of July-September, with no records kept by the previous administration. The local fuel retailer is projected to run out of fuel oil by April 2010. All residents, businesses, and the city facilities are affected by this. The local store does not have enough fuel storage capacity to last until spring. When the road to Nome opens, the community is able to have fuel oil purchased and transported by a fuel provider from Nome using fuel trucks. The city's trash/honey-bucket haul services provides trash and honey-bucket haul to 64 households, at $35 a month, and 10 businesses, at $50 a month. At 100% collection, the total revenues would be $32,800. The city clerk is in the process of implementing the billing system from Quickbooks Pro accounting software program to start billing the customers. The city currently does not bill the customers as it is trying to figure out the finances from October 2008 to November 2009, when there were minimal financial activities then.

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.
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 is slowly but surely starting to implement the components of Quickbooks Pro accounting software program. Most of the city's financial recording keeping system are done manually. Quickbooks Pro is implemented to a limited degree.

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 has paid almost all of the past due tax liabilities, other than an old past due account for the old gaming department from 2006. The city clerk was in the process of paying off that past due. RUBA staff is working with the city to get its name off the Lien Watch report. The city's Employment Security Compensation (ESC) employer rate was revised to 1.91% from 5.40%. At the request of the city, Employment Security Division staff from Fairbanks is planning to do an audit on the city's Employment Security Contributions (ESC) payroll records to determine if taxes are due for tax year 2008.

Personnel System

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No 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 is waiting for a quote from Alaska Municipal League-Joint Insurance Asso.(AMLJIA)to obtain workers' compensation and general liability coverage. The city hopes to get workers' compensation and general liability coverage as soon as possible.

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.
N/A 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 council is having the city provide honey-bucket/trash haul services at no cost to the customers as a 'good for the health and welfare of the community'. But the city clerk is preparing to start billing all the trash/honey-bucket customers within the next few weeks.

Operation of Utility

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
N/A The utility operator(s) are actively working towards necessary certification.
N/A The utility has a preventative maintenance plan developed for the existing sanitation facilities.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
N/A 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.
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.
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
Maintenance of the washeteria/water treatment plant is provided by Bering Strait School District. The city does not have a utility operator since the school treats and stores the water itself. The city lost its contract with Kawerak, Inc. to maintain the roads when it started having financial problems. The sanitation services were not provided due to the fact that employees could not be paid, the trash and honey-bucket containers were not being collected as the haul trucks broke down. The city council was down to two council members when most of them resigned for one reason or another. RUBA staff encouraged the remaining council members to make at least two more appointments per Title 29 when there is less than a quorum. As a result of inaction by the past city council, most of the services provided by the city, including the washeteria and the trash/honeybucket services failed. The new city council has made it a priority to provide the sanitation services.