Quarterly Report: 2010, July - September (Q1), Shishmaref

Leroy Seppilu  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Agreement Date:
City of Shishmaref 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
The City of Shishmaref operates a central watering point, a water truck delivery service, multiple watering points, and a washeteria. They also provide a honey bucket service. The city council is the policy making body for the utility. Water is derived from a surface source; it is treated and stored in a new tank. Shishmaref is undergoing major improvements, with the construction of a flush/haul system and household plumbing. Nineteen HUD homes have been completed, and 71 homes remain. The new system provides water delivery, but the unserved homes continue to haul their own water. The City hauls honeybuckets and services the new flush tanks. The school, clinic, Friendship Center, city hall and fire hall are connected to a sewage lagoon. A new landfill is planned for the City; an access road is under construction.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
All of the city's sanitation projects are on hold due to major erosion problems with the location of the community. The city is on a barrier reef by the Shishmaref Lagoon and is susceptible to erosions from strong late fall storms. There has done some minor projects completed with the washeteria. The city provided honey-bucket and trash haul for the residents and commercial customers. The city also delivers water to some of the residents and businesses. The city has a washeteria with washers, dryers and showers provided. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Nome RUBA staff will continue to provide assistance. RUBA staff is planning a trip to the community in the next quarter to work with the city clerk and bookkeeper on financial issues.
Essential Indicators:
27 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
25 of 27
Total Score:
52 of 54


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
The bookkeeper keeps very meticulous records of the city's finances. All revenues and expenditures are listed in the utility budget. The city council, acting as the utility board, passed utility rates in 2007 for services provided. The rates are adequate and meets the financial needs of the utilities, although the washeteria is heavily subsidized. However, since this is an essential service the city council feels that for the health and well being of the community, the subsidy is necessary. Otherwise, the city would have to charge customers exorbitantly and no one would be able to afford to use the washeteria. The utility monthly financial reports are made in a timely manner and are included in the city's monthly financial reports. The format used is acceptable and comprehensive.

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.
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
Some of the customers are behind with their utility bills, but most have made agreements with the city to pay off the bills when permanent fund dividends come in in early October. The bookkeeper sends out utility bills on a monthly basis and reminders to pay past due bills to customers. The bookkeeper uses Quickbooks

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.
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 city has managed to pay off all the past due tax liabilities that had been stacking up over the last several years. The city was also behind on the quarterly tax reports. When the current bookkeeper was hired, she started compiling the debts owed by the city and made the compilation part of the monthly financial report. The city council directed her to start making payments as much as she could. The debt to IRS was made a priority at the recommendation of RUBA staff. Almost all of the debts, including IRS's have been paid off. We did have a little difficulty getting the city's name and debt off the IRS Lien Watch, but that should be scratched off in the next quarterly publication.

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 city's personnel policies are used by the utility department. The personnel policies ordinance will need to be updated along with the city's other utility ordinances. The city uses some of the money received from Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation to purchase liability insurance and workers' compensation coverages.

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 bookkeeper has extensive experience with Quickbooks Pro and very proficient with local government financial recordkeeping. As there are no disconnection possible, the city sometimes has difficulty with collecting honey-bucket haul, trash haul and water delivery services. The bookkeeper sends out monthly bills and reminders consistently. Most of the residential customer usually pay of their past due utility bills when permanent fund dividend checks are mailed out. The bookkeeper is expecting most of the customers to pay off their utility bills within the next few weeks. The city council strongly encourages the customers to pay off their debts to the city for utility services provided.

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 city is on the Significant Non-Complier list for Stage 1 violation. The Remote Maintenance Worker is working with the city's utility operators to get them off the list.