Quarterly Report: 2010, October - December (Q2), Diomede

Leroy Seppilu  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Agreement Date:
City of Diomede 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
The City of Diomede and Diomede Joint Utilities are responsible for the management of a seasonal washeteria serviced by a septic system and seepage pit, water treatment plant and 434,000-gallon steel water storage tank/watering point. The water tank is fed by water drawn from a mountain spring that is then filtered and chlorinated at the water treatment plant prior to being stored in the tank. The tank capacity is usually insufficient in the spring each year and residents are forced to melt snow and ice for drinking water. All homes use honey buckets, the waste of which is dumped on the beach in the summer and on pack ice in the winter. The local clinic is connected to the washeteria septic system. The proposed improvements will upgrade the water treatment plant and complete the construction of a new water storage tank next to the school. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Nome RUBA staff provided telephonic assistance to the Diomede Joint Utilities manager, Gabriel Ozenna, Sr., on the fuel issue. Another entity in Diomede had given it fuel sales enterprise to the city-owned utility due to cash problems about two years ago. Ever since then, the utility had been trying to get rid of the ownership of the fuel sales as it was cost prohibitive to own and operate. Gasoline and fuel oil are over $7.00 each per gallon. The utility manager wanted advice from RUBA on how to get it out of the utility's hand. Several options were discussed. The utility did not want to borrow money from Alaska Energy Authority or Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation as the conditions for repaying the loan were either too short and that it would cost the utility time and money at the end of the loan terms. The utility provide electricity to the community, a watering point and a washeteria. In the end, the utility was able to hand over the controls of the fuel sales enterprise to private hands. The utility still owes Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) for last summer's fuel purchased and delivered by them. The utility expects to pay off that fuel loan by July, 2010. The utility was also looking at the possibility of adding a surcharge the electric bills to its customerss to offset the costs of diesel fuel purchased to run the electric generators. A sample ordinance was provided by RUBA staff. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Nome RUBA staff will provide technical assistance to the Utility Manager and other city staff upon request. RUBA staff will continue to provide telephonic advise and assistance. After several months of not having regular weekly helicopter flights from Nome that provides passenger and mail services, the helicopter services resumed. The ice is still too thin for the community of Diomede to have regular daily fixed wing passenger and mail services. The ice close to the community is usually plowed and maintained for this purpose. RUBA staff and DCCED grant administrator will be assisting the city obtain federal grants to possibly purchase heavy equipment to plow an ice airport in Diomede. RUBA staff will work with the utility manager to revise the city's utility ordinance to include fuel surcharge for electric customers.
Essential Indicators:
23 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
27 of 27
Total Score:
50 of 53


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.
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
Answer Question
Yes The utility is receiving revenues (user fees or other sources sufficient to cover operating expenses and Repair & Replacement (R) costs.
Yes YTD revenues are at a level equal to or above those budgeted.
Yes 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
Diomede Joint Utilities purchases fuel from Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). This year DJU's total fuel bill was a little over $93,000. DJU expects to pay off the fuel bill by July, 2010. RUBA staff is working with the utility manager to start including a fuel surcharge to the electric utility bills to customers. A sample utility ordinance wording is being provided. This will help offset the high fuel costs to the utility.

Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility has adopted a collection policy and actively follows it.
Yes The utility bills customers on a regular basis.
N/A 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
DJU sells treated water to the local school and bills at least $4,000 a month. Utility billings, bill payments, revenue tracking, bank account reconciliations, etc., are all done manually. The utility manager took beginner Quickbooks Pro training, but will need to take more training. He had installed QBP software in the utility computer, but quit using it after the balances did not match.

Tax Problems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility has a system to accurately calculate, track, and report payroll tax liabilities.
No 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
DJU has its own Employer Identification Number (EIN). The City of Diomede has a recorded Alaska Employment Security tax lien.

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.
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
The utility has only one full time employee in the utility administration. The utility uses the city's personnel policies. All personnel are hired by the city council.

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.
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
Answer Question
Yes 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 council acts as the utility board for the city-owned utilities. The Diomede mayor resigned abruptly for personal reasons as mayor and council member. The remaining city council appointed a new mayor, Dora Ahkinga. She has been active with the city council for about 32 years in Diomede. The city council membership also was down to three members. RUBA staff advised the mayor that it can meet with a less that a quorum to make an appointment to one of the vacant council seats in order to meet legally and take actions as required by Alaska Statute 29.

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
DJU is not on the Significant Non-Complier list. The utility submitted it 2008 CCR and is current with all reports, despite being the most isolated community in this region.