RUBA Community Status Report

Community Name: Teller


Community:

Teller

RUBA:

Yes

Staff:

Leroy Seppilu

Agreement:

Yes

DCA Region:

Nome

Agreement Date:

5/1/2010

Region:

Bering Straits

Exp Date:

5/1/2012

Govt Type(s):

2nd Class City

Borough:

Unorganized

Assessment Date:

6/2/2011

Population:

245

Active Community:

Yes

Date Updated:

10/4/2013


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
and Activities
this Quarter:

RUBA staff traveled to Teller twice. On the first trip, the city clerk was on leave. RUBA staff traveled again on a day trip and performed a RUBA Assessment. The City was able to pass the RUBA Assessment. The city clerk has trained the office aide to perform the city clerk duties and responsibilities while she is and was on leave. The city clerk is now using a RUBA-approved monthly financial report in Excel Spreadsheet format.

 

Capacity Indicator: Finances

Essential Indicators:

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.

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:

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.

Yes

A monthly manager's report is prepared.

Yes

Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.

Comment:

The City of Teller passed the FY14 budget on July 1, 2013. The washeteria's revenues last fiscal year were approximately $40,000 and the expenditures were approximately the same amount. However, the city does not have expenses of providing diesel fuel, and other major utility expenses relating to operating and managing the system. The Bering Strait School District provides for fuel and labor costs. Only a few major costs are included in the expense categories; payroll/taxes, electricity, repairs and maintenance, and laundry supplies. The city makes monthly financial reports using a RUBA-approved Excel Spreadsheet format. The city clerk pays all the water and wastewater electric bills and is current with the payments. The city has a 300-gallon day tank at the city office and purchases heating fuel from the Teller Native Corporation as needed. The washeteria is connected with the Bering Strait School District's water treatment plant and does not pay for heating fuel. However, they pay the electric bill. The Honey-Bucket/Trash Haul Services generates revenues of $5,544.00 a year and expenses of $66,630.00. The expenditures are subsidized using revenues from sales tax and funds from Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation's (NSEDC)Community Benefits Share Program . The city council has stated since Trash and Honey-bucket Haul Services are important for health and safety issues, they will be kept in operation as long as they can using subsidies from sales tax and funds from NSEDC.

 

Capacity Indicator: Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators:

Yes

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:

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.

Comment:

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's customer billing for trash and honeybucket haul services. QuickBooks is also used for payroll and payroll taxes. The collection rates is approximately 40 percent. The city clerk has started using positive collection strategies. She has initialized having an open contact with some or most of the trash and honey-bucket haul customers. She has listed customers who are keeping current with their service bills on a poster at the city office. This has created a positive response from the community. RUBA staff discussed other positive actions she, with the approval of the city council, can take to continue the momentum.

 

Capacity Indicator: Tax Problems

Essential Indicators:

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.

N/A

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.

Comment:

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 and all tax deposits. The City's current Employment Security Contribution (ESC) Employer rate is 3.29%, which is an average high.

 

Capacity Indicator: Personnel System

Essential Indicators:

Yes

The utility has a posted workers compensation insurance policy in effect.

Sustainable Indicators:

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.

Comment:

The utility has a posted workers compensation insurance policy in effect. The city is current with workers compensation coverage to July 1, 2014. The city clerk continues to train the office aide with the city clerk duties and responsibilities, including billing for trash/honey-bucket haul services. The city has a comprehensive personnel policies.

 

Capacity Indicator: Organizational Management

Essential Indicators:

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:

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.

Comment:

The city council, acting as a utility board, holds regular monthly meetings and special meetings as needed. Trash/honey-bucket haul and washeteria issues are in the agenda and discussed. Action is taken to remedy and resolve any issues related to the services. The city clerk acts as a treasurer and supervisor to all the city employees. Since the city does not have the ownership of the water treatment plant, there are no water treatment plant operators employed by the city. However, the city council is in the process of hiring at least two water plant operators, one as the main operator and the other as an alternate operator. Both will be enrolled to upcoming provisional operator training programs.

 

Capacity Indicator: Operation of Utility

Essential Indicators:

N/A

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:

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.

Comment:

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. The city will also send at least two employees to a Level 1 provisional operator training this fall/winter.

RUBA Activities for the Coming Quarter:

RUBA staff will travel to Teller to continue the efforts to improve the collection of trash/honey-bucket haul bills for the services provided. RUBA staff will recommend other positive collection strategies to try out, including providing discounts to customers who pay for a year of trash and honey-bucket services. RUBA staff will work with the city to update and revise the city's code of ordinances, including the trash and honey-bucket haul services.