Quarterly Report: 2009, January - March (Q3), Teller

Leroy Seppilu  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Agreement Date:
City of Teller 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
Teller does not have a water/sewer utility. Water is hauled from the Gold Run River (20 miles away) by the City water truck, and delivered to home storage tanks, during the summer. In the winter, treated water is delivered from a large storage tank at the washeteria, or melt ice is used 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 DCRA staff fielded a lot of complaints from the community this quarter about honey-bucket containers not being picked up for several months. The region has had more than usual snowfall and storms this winter that exacerbate the problem further. The city's haul truck broke down and some of the employees have not been paid. The situation has caused a health concern, particularly as spring approaches. Numerous attempts were made by Nome RUBA staff to contact the city and offer assistance. Telephone messages were left, but not returned. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff will be traveling to train a new city clerk, if hired and if retained long enough. Newly-Elected-Official (NEO) training will also be provided and will concentrate in the area of providing quality services to the community, budgeting, holding meetings, etc.
Essential Indicators:
12 of 25
Sustainable Indicators:
15 of 27
Total Score:
27 of 52


Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No 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.
No 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.
No 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.
No Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
Accusations are being made by several community members that one of the city council member is making personal trips out of town at the city's expense and not accomplishing much. The city is also apparently not paying its honey-bucket haul employees. The city roads are not being cleared of snow, thus making it impossible to collect honey-bucket containers because the city does not have funds to clear the roads. The city has a contract with Kawerak, Inc., to snow-plow the city's roads and the road to the airport. The maintenance person was paid with the city's check but told not to cash the pay-check until a council member went to Nome to deposit money and get cash to pay him.

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.
No An accounts payable system is in place.
No 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.
N/A The utility has a cash disbursement system that records how money was spent.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
No A chart of accounts is used that identifies categories in a reasonable, usable manner.
No Monthly bank reconciliations have been completed for all utility accounts.
No 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 has not billed its honey-bucket haul customers for the last several months due to retaining administrative employees. Most employees are paid with cash since none of the businesses in town do not accept the city's checks.

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.
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.
Tax Problems Comments
The city has a very large unpaid tax liability, mainly from IRS. Quarterly tax reports and tax deposits are not being submitted and paid. To date, the city has not made any attempts to set up payment plans with IRS.

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.
No The utility has personnel folders on every employee that contain at least: I-9, Job Application and Letter of Acceptance.
No 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
Chapter 75 of the City Code of Ordinances outlines the Personnel Policy. The city still had problems retaining city clerks and other essential employees due to cash flow issues. Some employees have not been paid since about two months ago.

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.
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
Yes The utility has adopted an organizational chart that reflects the current structure.
No The policy making body meets as required.
No The utility complies with the open meeting act for all meetings.
Organizational Management Comments
A temporary city clerk may be hired to man the city office. RUBA staff is waiting for permanent hire to provide training. There have been complaints from the public that when they attend a city council meeting, they are told to leave. The issue will be addressed with the city council when RUBA staff travel to the community. The mayor has been out of town a lot and hardly keeps in contact with the city office and other council members.

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
Yes 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.
Yes 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.
Yes The utility maintains an inventory control list.
Yes The utility maintains a critical spare parts list.
Operation of Utility Comments
Maintenance of the washeteria/water treatment plant continues to be provided by Bering Strait School District. Otherwise, the city would not be able to keep the washeteria and the water treatment plant going. The washeteria is right next to the school.