Quarterly Report: 2011, July - September (Q1), 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:
2/2/2011 
Community Sanitation Overview:
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 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 September 1-2, 2010 to assist the city clerk in reviewing the draft FY11 budget, completing the FY09 Certified Financial Statement, resolution for FY11 Community Revenue Sharing (CRS), and resolution for Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT). A public hearing for the budget was set for September 7. It is expected that the resolutions will be passed at the same meeting and will be forwarded to Juneau soon after to receive CRS and PILT payments. RUBA staff also reviewed the timeline and requirements for the upcoming municipal election to be held on October 5. There will be two vacant council seats this year and RUBA staff will provide assistance with the election, including travel to the community if requested. While onsite, RUBA staff also encouraged the Teller Native Corporation president to apply for funding to obtain a 20k gallon capacity fuel oil tank so the community will not run out of fuel oil to sell to Teller residents. The corporation has been running out of fuel oil about March of each year for several years before the road to Nome opens for fuel trucks to deliver. In late September, City Clerk Carolyn Oquilluk called to report the Teller City Council met and passed the FY11 budget. The city council also passed the FY11 Payment-In-Lieu-of Taxes (PILT) resolution and filled out the FY11 Community Revenue Sharing (CRS) application. The city council will pass the FY09 Certified Financial Statement resolution in the near future when some of the numbers in the form are clarified. The city is eligible to receive $109,090 CRS funds and $30,754 PILT funds. The City of Teller uses funds from the state's Community Revenue Sharing program and Payment-In-Lieu-of Taxes (PILT) program to subsidize the trash and honey-bucket haul services. At the request of the city clerk, RUBA staff had traveled in September to Teller to work with her to complete the resolutions, budget and application. Nome RUBA staff was invited to City of Teller issues with Village Safe Water engineer Emily Kloc, and CE2 engineer Lloyd Persson, before their trip to Teller to discusss the on-going water and sewer project with the city council and the community members. RUBA staff discussed current issues affecting the city and community. The city will be holding a municipal election on October 5, and has three vacant city council seats open; the city completed its FY11 budget late, but is holding off on passing the completed FY09 Certified Financial Statement until a couple of issues are resolved; the Teller Native Corporation is still expected to run out of fuel oil for sale early March 2011 due to not having enough fuel storage capacity with its tank farm. Nome RUBA staff is working with the community seeking funds to purchase at least 25,000 gallon capacity tank. RUBA staff also showed the clerk how to generate a comprehensive monthly financial statement in Excel Spreadsheet format for financial reports to the city council and public.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff will work with the city on the following issues: *Have the city purchase workers' compensation coverage as required by State law. *Have the city clerk trained with Quickbooks Pro in the upcoming RUBA sponsored QBP training in Nome. The city can then exclusively use QBP for all its financial record keeping sytem. *Start billing trash/honey-bucket service customers on a regular monthly basis, preferably using QBP. *Work with Teller's local entities to seek funding to purchase at least a 25,000 gallon capacity fuel tank for the local fuel vendor. The city purchases fuel oil and gasoline from the fuel vendor to operate the utility services.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
16 of 24
Sustainable Indicators:
19 of 24
Total Score:
35 of 48

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
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 city completed and passed the FY11 budget mid-September, with assistance of RUBA staff and former city bookkeepers from the community. There were several factors in the delay of passing the budget, which includes trash and honey-bucket haul services. The city clerk took a leave of absence for a month and the city council could not find anyone to complete the budget. The city also used the monthly financial format in Excel spreadsheet recommended and provided by Nome RUBA staff. Another winter is approaching in which the city, and the whole community, might run out of fuel oil if heavy snowfall occurs. Late last winter, the Alaska Department of Transporation and Public Facilities was able to plow the snow off of the Nome-Teller Road early and fuel oil was delivered using fuel tank vehicles. The city purchases fuel oil from Teller Native Corporation's fuel sales. The city uses part of the DCCED's Community Revenue Sharing Program funds to pay most of the expenses incurred for the operation of the trash and honey-bucket haul services.

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 still does not bill customers for trash and honey-bucket haul services. RUBA staff continues to recommend that the city clerk bill the customers so that the services can pay for themselves. The city is suppose to charge the residential customer at least $35 a month.

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.
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 is current with its tax reports. They are listed on the Lien Watch report for reporting issues in 1998, 1999 and 2001.

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
Nome RUBA staff continues to encourage the city council to purchase workers' compensation coverage as required by state law. The city clerk has passed her probationary period.

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
There are two vacancies for city council seats this coming election to be held first Tuesday of October. One of the seats is a write-in. The city clerk was given basic muncipal election training by RUBA staff. The timelines are being followed by the city clerk and no major elections issues are expected this year. The city council acts as the utility board and has been very active dealing with utility issues. The mayor resigned due to health issues this summer and the vice-mayor is now the acting mayor until the municipal election.

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.
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.
N/A The utility has completed and distributed its "Consumer Confidence Report".
N/A 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
The city operates a washeteria that is attached to the water plant maintained and operated by the local school. The washeteria employs two part-time washeteria attendants.