Quarterly Report: 2013, 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:
245  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
10/31/2012 
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:
RUBA staff made two trips to Teller this quarter. RUBA staff traveled with Village Safe Water engineers to attend a public meeting to review the on-going sanitation project. RUBA staff presented information about the RUBA Program. RUBA staff made another trip to work with the city clerk on the on-going review of the city's finances. RUBA staff also assisted with the preparation of the upcoming municipal election. There are five city council vacancies; the city council is the governing body of the utility. Election procedures were discussed with the city clerk and acting mayor. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff will continue working with the city on management issues in the next quarter. The city clerk has expressed the possibility of about resigning soon. If that happens, RUBA staff will make sure the transition to a newly hired city clerk is as smooth as possible. The city clerk is training a possible replacement for the clerk position. RUBA staff will make at least one trip next quarter to continue monitoring this possible transition and to work with the city clerk on implementing a monthly financial report.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
18 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
17 of 23
Total Score:
35 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
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.
Yes Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
The city council and Village Safe Water continue to talk about the possibility of having the city take over the responsibility of managing the water treatment plant. The washeteria earnings from last fiscal year (2012) were approximately $31,000 and expenditures of $32,000. To date, RUBA does not have year-to-date revenue and expenditure to track the differences. The trash and honeybucket haul's revenues for the year was about $12,500 and expenditures were approximately $57,000. The enterprise is heavily subsidized with Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation (NSEDC) and general funds.Monthly financial reports are yet to be implemented, although a sample format was provided and explained to the city council and clerk. The utility is current in paying all water/wastewater electric bills. The city purchases its fuel from the local fuel vendor. The washeteria/water treatment plant's fuel is purchased by Bering Strait School District.

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 clerk regularly sends out a $35 a month trash and honeybucket bills to all its customers. It is not viable to discontinue services if customers get behind with their bills, as wastewater and refuse disposal are identified as community health issues.

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. The utility is current on filing payroll liabilities reports. The city is working with IRS to pay off past due tax liabilities from 2008. The city uses funds from NSEDC to pay for past due tax liabilities.

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 clerk is the supervisor for all city employees and is proficient with evaluations, the hiring process, and setting up filing systems for employees. The city encourages training opportunities for city employees.

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.
No 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 entity that owns the utility is known; the entity that will operate the utility is set. The city council had difficulty holding meetings this summer due to lack of establishing quorums for the announced regular and special meetings. Despite this, city administration continues to run smoothly and functions well.

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
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 utility operator successfully attended a RUBA sponsored utility management training for utility clerks. The operator provides status reports to the manager on a routine basis. The utility has completed and distributed its Consumer Confidence Report and is not on the Significan Non-Complier list.