Quarterly Report: 2013, October - December (Q2), 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:
2/8/2013 
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:
In October, RUBA staff spoke with the city clerk concerning several local issues and leaerned that the washeteria project has started. The wastewater drainage to the wastewater lagoon is being renovated as well as a couple of washers and shower stalls. The city has capped the 300 gallon fuel tank for the winter. The corporation, which sells fuel to the community, has also capped its fuel tanks for the winter. In November, RUBA staff recommended maintenance crew workers move the trash and honeybucket haul truck to Nome for yearly maintenance work. The haul truck is used to pick up honeybuckets and trash from around the community of Teller regularly. RUBA staff also worked with Village Safe Water to have the city and the tribal president sign the paperwork to have the wastewater line from the washeteria to the wastewater lagoon repaired, as well as the washers, shower stalls, and toilets in the washeteria repaired before freeze up. Two Teller staff attended and completed the RUBA sponsored QuickBooks for Power Users class in Anchorage this quarter. Their new skills in the accounting process will enhance billings and collections. 
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:
20 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
18 of 23
Total Score:
38 of 50

Finances

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes 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.
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
The FY13 utility budget has been adopted. The city continues to manage and operate the trash and honeybucket haul services at a very high deficit. Most of the revenues to subsidize the services are from Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation Community Benefits Share Program. The city council considers this an essential service for the health and well-being of the community members it serves. The city clerk has stated that she does monthly financial reports but RUBA has yet to receive a copy. In the past, RUBA staff has provided a sample copy for her to use with a review on how to prepare and implement it. The following break down of revenues and expenditures is for FY12(latest information): Revenues collected: $12,500; Expenditures: $56,863 Number of Trash and Honeybucket Haul customers: 70 at $35 a month for both services. Total to be billed for the year is about $29,400. $12,500 divided by $29,400 = is approximately 43% collection rate. The city subsidizes the trash and honeybucket haul by about $44,363.00 a year, mainly from Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation's Community Benefits Share Program.

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
The city sends out $35 monthly trash and honeybucket bills to all customers, however these have not been sent on a regular basis. The city clerk stated that she did not know what the collection rate is for the trash and honeybucket haul enterprise; however, RUBA estimates the collection rate to be about 43%. An accounts receivable system is in place which tracks customers and reports past due accounts and amounts. The city clerk implements some or most of Quickbooks for for billing of trash and honeybucket haul customers. The payroll system correctly calculates payroll and keeps records using Quickbooks Pro. A cash receipt system is in place that records incoming money and how it was spent. The utility has a cash disbursement system that records how money was spent. The city is continuing to implement Quickbooks Pro. The city sent the office aide and assistance city clerk to a Quickbooks training in Anchorage during the month of November 2012. More training will be needed to fully implement all aspects of Quickbooks.

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. The city hired two city clerk aides to assist with the workload at the city office. The city has a fairly comprehensive personnel policies, although it will eventually need to be updated. The council is working with the RUBA staff to update it, but mostly will need changes in the formatting. The city clerk is the supervisor of all the city employees and evaluations are done according to the timeline set in the personnel policies. The two aides who were hired to assist the city clerk work have successfully attended a basic Quickbooks training held in Anchorage.

Organizational Management

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes 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.
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 successfully held an election in October, 2012. There were four vacant council seats on the ballot. The city clerk followed an election timeline and the newly elected council members were sworn in. The city council has had difficulty obtaining a quorum to hold council meetings as summer and fall times are busy for most of the members with subsistence hunting and fishing. The city clerk is proficient with her duties and responsibilities. She also acts as utility clerk and bookkeeper. The city does not have an operator, as that responsibility is handled by the regional school district, which has a certified water plant operator located in the school district's regional center in Unalakleet. The operator travels to the district's communities regularly and as needed.

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.