Quarterly Report: 2008, April - June (Q4), Shishmaref

Karlin Itchoak  
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 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:
Nome RUBA staff traveled to Shishmaref to meet with the Mayor, City Clerk, Bookkeeper, City Council and Water Plant Operators to conduct a re-assessment of essential indicators for the utility. The city staff and city council has worked diligently to remedy delinquencies from the last assessment. The City of Shishmaref has made a payment plan with the Internal Revenue Service and has been successful in keeping up with it. The City continues to make timely monthly payments toward the remaining balance. Also, the City has hired the firm of Wilson and Wilson to conduct a required single audit and has successfully set aside substantial savings to pay for the audit. Moreover, the City of Shishmaref held the first reading of its proposed FY09 Budget on May 19, 2008 and held a public hearing on June 3, 2008. The City Council passed a budget appropriations ordinance on June 3, 2008, officially adopting the FY09 budget. In addition, Nome RUBA staff provided technical assistance via phone, fax, and e-mail this quarter to the City Clerk, Bookkeeper, and City Treasurer. This included assistance with the completion of the FY07 Certified Financial Statement, Sales tax questions, clinic upgrade funding requests,and the creation of an organizational chart. Melanie Weiouyanna, City Clerk, successfully completed a 32-hour RUBA sponsored Personnel Management worshop in Nome the last week of February. The City of Shishmaref meets all essential management indicators at this time. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Nome RUBA staff will continue to provide assistance.
Essential Indicators:
26 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
22 of 26
Total Score:
48 of 52


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
No 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.
N/A Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
The City Council adopted the FY08 budget in May, 2007. The utility budget, which consists of all services, is projected to spend $174,850 for FY08 with a majority of the expenses ($138,600) dedicated to the Washeteria. The City projects $153,800 in revenue for all combined utility services. This leaves the City with a projected $21,500 shortfall that will be supplemented with Municipal Energy Assistance Program funding. The City of Shishmaref participated in the NSEDC Bulk Fuel Purchasing program this year. The order of 32,000 gallons of heating oil was purchased at $2.82 a gallon, which will obligate the City to pay NSEDC approximately $90,000 or $7,500 a month before next year's order. While the City is receiving revenues sufficient to cover operating costs, there are no repair and replacement funds set aside specifically for unexpected expenses. Monthly financial reports are submitted by the bookkeeper and are of excellent quality.

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
Bills are sent to bin haul customers once a month. Delinquent customers are sent letters with reminders at the same time. The City utilizes a NEBS receipt system and individual customer cards to track accounts receivable and past due amounts. The Bookkeeper manually calculates payroll, enters it into the Economik register, individual personnel files, and an excel worksheet. The City Clerk produces the payroll checks using QuickBooks accounting software. Cash disbursements are accounted for with the use of envelopes marked with the account. A reasonable and usable chart of accounts is used in both NEBS and Economik register. Purchase order forms are used by City staff to procure necessary supplies and equipment. The City Bookkeeper is current on bank reconciliations.

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
Although the City of Shishmaref experienced Federal and State tax problems the past several years, it is on its way to solving these issues. The City has entered into an approved payment plan with the IRS to pay an outstanding balance due and is considered to be in compliance with all filing and paying employment tax requirements by the IRS.

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 Shishmaref has a 2008 workers compensation insurance policy through AML/JIA that expires on July 1, 2008. The policy is conspicuously posted in the City Office. All of the necessary paperwork for the FY09 liability/workers compensation insurance has been filed out as of the RUBA staff visit, and the new policy for 2008-2009 will go into affect on July 7, 2008. The City Clerk oversees day-to-day personnel management duties. This includes new hire orientation and conducting evaluations.

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.
N/A 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.
No The utility complies with the open meeting act for all meetings.
Organizational Management Comments
The City of Shishmaref owns and operates all sanitation infrastructure within the municipal boundaries. Both the City Clerk (Manager) and Bookkeeper have attended RUBA sponsored workshops. The Water Operator, Art Sheldon, is Level 2 certified in Water Treatment. The City does not comply with the Open Meetings Act (OMA) for all City meetings. Meetings that are in violation of the OMA are usually emergency joint meetings held with other local governing bodies.

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, Arthur Sheldon, is certified for Water Treatment 2, and his certification is valid until December 31, 2010. Mr. Sheldon provides routine maintenance and daily status reports on his timesheets. In addition, Mr. Sheldon continues to attend courses necessary to perform his duties. He successfully completed a Water Treatment Rules training sponsored by ANTHC in Kotzebue last quarter. The City is provided a safety manual by AML/JIA, but safety meetings are not held on a regular basis. The City of Shishmaref water system is on the significant non-compliance list for violation of the Surface Water Treatment Rule. In late 2006, two Public Notices were sent to the City from the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) regarding high turbidity, monitoring summary, and sampling reminder. The necessary filters to address the turbidity treatment technique issues arrived in Shishmaref in May 2008 and are being replaced. The earliest date to return to compliance for surface water treatment is April 2008 if the turbidity issues are resolved. In addition, plans were approved on September 21, 2007 for upgrades to the water treatment plant to operate as a direct filtration followed by a granulated activated carbon system. The required upgrades are expected to be on-line when annual filtering and filling storage tanks occurs in 2008.