Quarterly Report: 2013, 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:
245  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
4/22/2013 
Community Sanitation Overview:
The City of Teller does not have a piped water/wastewater utility. During the summer, water is piped in from Coyote Creek, a couple of miles east of the school. The water is treated and stored in a large storage tank. In the winter, treated water is delivered from the large storage tank at the washeteria or residents use melted ice from area creeks. A few residents use their own ATV's or snowmachines to haul water. The school operates its own wastewater system. Within the last few years, the City of Teller has formed a planning commission to meet periodically and discuss topics crucial to the well being of the community. The commission has developed the Teller Local Economic Development Plan. The commission has prioritized several projects, with the water and wastewater system development at the top of the priority list. In February 2011, CE2 Engineers, Inc. released a draft Sanitation Facilities Master Plan which identified four options for the City of Teller. The first option proposed to keep the current status without making any changes to the system. The second option suggested building a water and wastewater haul system. The third option was to build a fully piped water and wastewater service to Coyote Creek subdivision (28 houses), a watering point at the townsite washeteria, and a honeybucket collection system in the townsite (52 houses). The last option proposed construction of a fully piped water and wastewater service to Coyote Creek subdivision (28 houses) and townsite (52 houses). In April of 2011, the city council voted to approve the construction of a fully piped water and wastewater service at the new site and the townsite. The Village Safe Water Program (VSW) is reviewing the Teller Sanitation Facilities Master Plan prepared by CE2 Engineers, Inc. If federal and state funding become available, VSW will assist the City of Teller in applying for grants.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
An office aide for the City of Teller successfully attended a RUBA sponsored training in Anchorage. The trash and honeybucket haul services continue to operate at a huge loss. However, the city council feels that it is very important to continue the services even at a loss. The deficit last year was a little over $45,000. RUBA staff talked with the council and administration; the consensus by the council was that it is very important to continue providing the services at all costs. The city finances about half of the expenses using Norton Sound Health Corporation's Community Benefits Share Program. The program provides $100,000 each year to the cities who are members in the region. The city charges $35 a month to the residents for both services. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff will work with the city staff and council to update its code of ordinances, including the washeteria and trash/honeybucket haul ordinances. RUBA staff will travel to the community at least once to work with the city clerk on the washeteria and trash/honeybucket haul finances, including a specific monthly financial report for the utility departments. RUBA staff will also provide basic city council duties and responsibilities for the new city council members.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
24 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
18 of 23
Total Score:
42 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.
No 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.
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.
Yes Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
For the FY13 budget, the expected combined revenues for the washeteria and trash/honeybucket services are: $63,000. The expenditures are: $$136,598. The $73,598.00 deficit is expected to be funded using the Norton Sound Ecomonic Development Corporation's(NSEDC, Community Benefits Share Program. Member communities in the Norton Sound and Norther Bering Sea region receive $100,000. The funds are used at the city council's discretion. However, the city must have a at least one public hearing to get input of how the funds will be spent each year. The city still does not make monthly financial reports. All utility bills, including electric bills, are paid up. The Teller Native Corporation provides and sells heating fuel and gasoline to the community. The fuel is delivered by fuel tank vehicles from Nome during summer and are capped off before the Blodgett Road (Nome to Teller) is closed for the winter. However, the corporation purchased at least 10,000 gallons of diesel and borrowed storage space from Alaska Village Electric Cooperative's (AVEC) tank farm for the winter. The extra fuel should last until late May or June when the road is expected to reopen and delivery of fuel from Nome resumes. The city purchases heating fuel from the corporation at retail prices.

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 clerk is also the treasurer and handles the city's finances. She has received Quickbooks training and has implemented it for the city to use to bill trash and honeybucket haul service customer billing, payroll and payroll taxes, using bank account, etc. The collection rates continues to hover around 40%.

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.
Yes 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 utility has a system to accurately calculate, track, and report payroll tax liabilities using Quickbooks. The utility is current on filing payroll liabilities reports and tax liabilities but not all tax deposits.

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.
No 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 utility has a posted workers compensation insurance policy in effect. The city is current with workers compensation coverage to July 1, 2013. One of the aides resigned and ran for a council seat. The city council is planning to revise its code of ordinances, including adding a trash/honey-bucket haul ordinances, washeteria and update the personnel policies. One of the office assistants attended a Financial Management class in Anchorage and successfully completed it.

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
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, acting as a utility board holds regular monthly meetings and special meetings as needed. The utility services are included in the regular agenda. The city clerk acts as a utility manager and clerk. She has received training for her duties and responsibilites and adequately performs as required. The city does not have an operator. However, the maintenance worker does some minor repairs and maintenance for the washeteria. Most of the work for the washeteria is done by the Remote Maintenance Worker from Nome.

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
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.
N/A 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.
N/A The utility maintains an inventory control list.
N/A The utility maintains a critical spare parts list.
Operation of Utility Comments
The Bering Strait School District has a regional operator located in Unalakleet who travels to the community on a regular basis and as needed. The city and the school district have an agreement to have the city use the treated water for washeteria use and a watering point at the washeteria for the community to use. The city has a maintenance employee who makes minor repairs at the washeteria as needed.