Quarterly Report: 2008, January - March (Q3), Wales

Karlin Itchoak  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Agreement Date:
City of Wales 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
Two new groundwater wells have been drilled; a pumphouse and watering point enclosure are needed. Currently, water is derived from Gilbert Creek during the summer, and residents haul treated water from a 500,000-gal. Storage tank at the washeteria. Some use untreated water from Village Creek. Almost all residents use honeybuckets, and very few homes currently have plumbing. A honeybucket haul system is in place. The school, and clinic are served by piped water. There are two septic systems - one for the school and a second for teacher's housing, the clinic, and the city building. A master plan to implement a piped system has been completed. There is no permit for the landfill. Village Safe Water is applying for sanitation grants for the community to upgrade the washeteria. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Karlin Itchoak was hired by the Division or Community and Regional Affairs (DCRA) in February and will be providing RUBA assistance to the community. This quarter, Nome RUBA staff assisted Mayor Crisci with a land records search for ownership of bulk fuel tanks in Wales. The community land status map does not include a notation about ownership of the tank farm. During the search, Nome RUBA learned that in the early 1990's Alaska Energy Authority (AEA) had a bulk fuel project in Wales. Nome RUBA referred Mayor Crisci to AEA for more information regarding this matter. During the last week of January, Village Safe Water engineer, Doug Poage, travelled to Wales to meet with the Council regarding planned work for 2008. In order for projects to proceed, the City of Wales needs to meet RUBA essential management indicators. At the time of this report, the City has purchased worker's compensation insurance and is actively working to resolve other financial matters.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
The City of Wales has not met all of the esential capacity indicators. In order to meet them, the utility must follow a number of recommendations. By implementing the recommendations, the City of Wales will put itself into position to better meet unanticipated financial costs and ensure that employees are aware of their condidtions of employment. RUBA staff is planning a trip to Wales in April to provide assistance with essential capacity indicators that are not being met. A reassessment will be completed with new RUBA staff.
Essential Indicators:
21 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
17 of 27
Total Score:
38 of 53


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.
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.
No 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.
Yes 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
The City of Wales did not adopt a realistic FY08 Budget appropriations ordinance on June 23, 2007. The City of Wales expected to receive $10,800 in Honey Bucket Haul revenues this year and plans to spend $39,155.00. At this rate the revenues generated is only 1/3 of the funds needed in order for the department to sustain itself. RUBA staff determined that during the months of June through September the city received approximately $2240.00 which is roughly an 83% residential customer collection rate for the first quarter. The City Council is currently not receiving monthly financial reports. The mayour provides the council with verbal reports and the water operator provides written reports. Wales has enough fuel on hand to make it through the year. They purchased approximately 25,000 gallons of heating fuel at $2.8267 per gallon for a total fuel bill of $70,667.50. The fuel was purchased by Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation on the City of Wales behalf. The City opted to have this amount deducted from their 2007 Community Benefit Share.

Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No 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
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.
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 of Wales utilizes a manual financial record keeping system; the clerk does a good job at recording all cash transactions however the difficulty was in determining the status of the City's bank accounts. Key Bank and Wells Fargo. On paper all o fhte ciyt finances are entered into one general account with no chart of accouts being utilized at this time. The City Clerk does a pretty good job of consistently sending out monthly statements to customers.

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.
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.
Tax Problems Comments
The IRS has deemed the city compliant at this time however, some recent reports contained calculation errors including duplicate payments.

Personnel System

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility has a posted workers compensation insurance policy in effect.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
No 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.
No 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 City of Wales is currently insured by the Alaska Municipal League, Joint Insurance Association (AML-JIA). The City of Wales has not yet reviewed their draft Personnel Policies and a few council members have expressed a desire to prioritize and accomplish this task in order to improve employee morale and to provide consistent treatment of all 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.
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
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 is the owner of the water and honey bucket utility. The decision making authority and enforcement of the utility policy is vested in the City Council. The City Council is responsible for billing and maintaining custoer files. An organizational chart has not been located.

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.
No 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".
No 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
The Utility Operator Larry Seradalook is not yet certified in Water Distribution and Water Treatment at the Operator in Training (OIT) level. The 2006 Consumer Confidence Report was completed and distributed. In partnership with VSW, the City has project funding for a water transmission line and plant upgrades. The City of Wales is on the Significant Con-complier Tier List for VSW Funding Condition Use as of October 2007, primarily due to the system needing treatment upgrads to address TTHM/HAAS MCL exceedence and Copper action level exceedence. Additionally alternative filtration does not meet LT1.