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

Leroy Seppilu  
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 and 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 residents use untreated water from Village Creek. Almost all residents use honeybuckets, and very few homes currently have plumbing. A honey bucket 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. The new facility will most likely be a multi-purpose facility to include the washeteria, water plant, and a new clinic. The condemned City dome will probably be torn down and its location used for the new multi-purpose facility. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Nome RUBA staff has been in contact with the mayor, Frank Crisci, telephonically. The city has been having a difficulty retaining city clerks and water plant operators. The alternate water plant operator also works at the school and was also suppose to alternate work at the city's washeteria and the school. But it appears he is working more at the school than at the city when it is his turn to work at the city. The council hired a city clerk 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Nome RUBA staff will continue to provide assistance. Nome RUBA staff is planning to provide financial management training in early spring, 2009, for the new city clerk. We will also determine whether or not she is capable of using Quickbooks Pro and if she is, she will be provided training with using the accounting software program
Essential Indicators:
27 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
19 of 27
Total Score:
46 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.
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 regularly sends out monthly honey-bucket haul bills to the customers. However, the city is having a difficult time collecting bills. The city collects from only a few residential customers. The honey-bucket hauler is suppose to work only three hours a day, five days a week, but has tendency to work more without permission from the mayor. The mayor has stressed to him to stay within the three-hour a day work. The employee is receiving at least $1,000 a month in wages, which is way more than what the council wants to budget for. The unfortunate thing is that he is the only one the council could find willing to haul frozen honey-buckets. The city contracted with the Wales Native Corporation to have them sell washeteria tokens from the Corp. office. The city has found it is more convenient to sell the tokens this way since the city office does not keep regular office hours due to past and present city clerks coming to work sporadically. The mayor commented that the city has never sold this many tokens before in the past. The Corp. is being paid at least $100 a month to sell the tokens. The Corp. has asked to be paid a little more and the mayor commented that the council may agree to it. The agreement was recently started and the city does not have exact figures yet of how much more revenue it is getting, but it is substantially more than when the city was selling the tokens itself.

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
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 still keeps financial records manually. The mayor has asked RUBA to provide financial management training. Time and date are being discussed. RUBA staff may provide training this spring to the new city clerk. It has been difficult to get an exact date because the city continues to have problems retaining city clerks.

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 of Wales is in compliance with all employment tax obligations. The city has paid past due payroll taxes that surfaced recently.

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 of Wales is currently insured by the Alaska Municipal League, Joint Insurance Association (AML-JIA). An employee, hired by DEC/VSW's contractor, was injured while working. He apparently twisted his ankle as he was getting off an ATV. He filed a claim and was paid over $4,000 through the city's workers' compensation coverage. He was apparently instructed by the contractor to file a claim using the city's insurance policy. The mayor found out about the incident when the city received a letter from DOL's Div. of Workers' Compensation reporting the incident. The mayor is questioning who was really employing him when he was injured. RUBA staff has advised the mayor to gather as much information as possible about the incident before he start making calls to determine who covered the employees under the sanitation project. He did find out that the project had budgeted $40,000 for insurance liability coverage and workers' compensation.

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 has asked RUBA staff to provide training for the new city clerk, although she does very well with financial record-keeping. The city has difficulty collecting monthly honey-bucket bills, but has decided to continue the hauling because of health concerns and issues.

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
Utility Operator Larry Sereadlook, is still not yet certified in Water Distribution and Water Treatment at the Operator in Training (OIT) level. He has failed a training provided by Remote-Maintenance Worker (RMW) Program, but continues to try to pass. The alternate utility operator is more mechanically inclined and has received training. The city, advised by RUBA, has retained both of them since it is difficult to find and hire operators in Wales.