Quarterly Report: 2011, July - September (Q1), Gambell

Leroy Seppilu  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Agreement Date:
City of Gambell 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
Water is derived from a shallow aquifer at the base of Sivuokuk Mountain, and is treated and stored in three storage tanks. One hundred twenty-one homes and 13 public and commercial buildings, including the school and washeteria, are now connected to the piped water and sewer system. Forty three homes in the original townsite still are not connected to the piped system; their residents haul water and use honeybuckets. A feasibility study is complete. A new water source and additional water storage tanks are needed to ensure no shortages will occur. Significant infrastructure growth is proposed over the next 5 years. The first phase of improvements upgraded the existing infrastructure, including water treatment, lift station upgrades, and a 2.2 million gallon water storage tank. The second phase will be to develop a well field 2 miles outside of town at the south end of Troutman Lake, and construct a summer only raw water transmission line. The third phase will be to provide water and wastewater service to Old Town (approximately 43 service connections). Ultimately, there will be 174 service connections.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Nome RUBA staff provided very limited assistance to the Gambell water and sewer utility. The city was on the Lien Watch with a very small past due. . 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Nome RUBA staff will provide assistance as needed and will travel to the community if requested.
Essential Indicators:
25 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
20 of 27
Total Score:
45 of 54


Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes All revenues and expenses for the utility are listed in the utility budget.
No 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
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.
Yes A monthly manager's report is prepared.
No Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
The water and sewer department has not provided any financuial reports to Nome RUBA staff, although the utility had a fairly large past due accounts, mostly from residential customers. The utility clerk keeps good records of all the utility's finances. The city and utility jointly ordered fuel for all city operations and is adequate for winter.

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
The Gambell Water and Wastewater Department had referred past due accounts to a collections agency. The utility was looking into taking the past due accounts to a small claims court, but did not follow through. QuickBooks Pro is used for financial recordkeeping by the utility. The utility clerk is self-taught and is at least an advanced level user. She is also consulted by other organizations in the community for advise on QBP usage.

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 utility uses QuickBooks Pro for payroll, payroll reports and taxes. The city is current on filing federal and state tax reports and tax deposits. The city's Employment Security Contribution (ESC) rate for 2010 is 1.15%. IRS and DOL have deemed Gambell to be compliant at this time. The city had a small past due balance with ESC, but has taken care of it.

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.
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 department's workers compensation coverage and general liability insurance has lapsed. The utility's insurer was Alaska Municipal League Joint Insurance Association (AMLJIA). The city stated that the lapse in insurance is due to lack of funds to pay for the coverage.

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 Gambell Utility Board, which was created by the city council through Chapter 36 of the city's code of ordinances, is still currently not active and has not met for months. The Gambell City Council is fully involved in management of the utility. The mayor comes to the city office at least three or four times a week and has his own office. This year, there are three city council vacancies for council seats. The municipal elections are held on first Tuesdays of October each year. The city council is seriously considering getting into ANTHC's Alaska Rural Utility Collaberative Program (ARUC) for management of the water and sewer utility management.

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 water plant operator is certified at the level necessary to operate and maintain the utility facilities and has several certifications from passing Remote Maintenance Worker training programs. A preventative maintenance plan is in place and followed by the utility operators. The RMW works closely with the utility operators.