Quarterly Report: 2009, October - December (Q2), Teller

Josephine Bahnke  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Agreement Date:
City of Teller 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
Teller does not have a water/sewer utility. Water is hauled from the Gold Run River (20 miles away) by the City water truck, and delivered to home storage tanks, during the summer. In the winter, treated water is delivered from a large storage tank at the washeteria, or melt ice is used from area creeks. A few residents use their own ATV's or snowmachines to haul water. The school operates its own sewer system. Sixty-seven residents and 15 businesses use honeybuckets, which are hauled by the City. A few homes and facilities have septic tanks.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Nome DCRA staff hosted a visit from the Teller City Administrator who provided an update of events in Teller. The city will resume operation of the water plant from the school district and plans to send two local residents to water plant operator training. The city overpaid the IRS causing a substantial overdraft and requested RUBA assistance to seek reimbursement. The city received a CDBG grant to build a new clinic with a grand opening planned in January. The Norton Sound Hospital in Nome and Nome RUBA staff have been seeking ways to provide the city a new basketball court. The old basketball court was used as a foundation for the new clinic. Norton Sound Hospital and ANTHC have agreed to build the basketball court in the summer of 2009. The city has also requested assistance seeking additional Village Based Counselors (VBC) to deal with recent suicide attempts and maybe prevent additional suicides from occuring. The City of Teller does not meet all essential management indicators at this time.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff will be working closely with the City to address a number of issues including continued financial training for staff, ordinance and policies revisions and enforcement and regular site visits to support City staff.
Essential Indicators:
12 of 25
Sustainable Indicators:
17 of 27
Total Score:
29 of 52


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.
No 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
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.
No A monthly manager's report is prepared.
No Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
At the time of this report, the FY09 budget has not been adopted. In order for the City to receive 2008 revenue sharing and payment in lieu of taxes, a legitimate election must be held on October 7, 2008. In addition to 2008 monies, the City Council is required to adopt a 2009 fiscal year budget and a FY07 certified financial statement. According to the city administrator, the City does not have funds available to pay the electric bill and AVEC is scheduled to cut off service to the City at the end of September. In order to achieve the 85% collection rate required by granting agencies (VSW, USDA-RD) the City should be receiving approximately $2,500 every month. Monthly financial statements (MFS) are not being completed. Alaska Statute 29.20.500(4) requires the Manager or Mayor to 'make monthly financial reports and other reports on municipal finances and operations as required by the governing body.' Regular monthly meetings have not been held this quarter due to lack of quorum. In July, the City transferred the fuel enterprise to the ANCSA village corporation. This source of revenue had been sustaining the city payroll and other expenses but is no longer available.

Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No The utility has adopted a collection policy and actively follows it.
No The utility bills customers on a regular basis.
No An accounts receivable system is in place which tracks customers and reports past due accounts and amounts.
No An accounts payable system is in place.
No 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.
N/A 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.
No 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
Chapter 31-Utilities Board and Utilities, section 15. Collection, outlines the policy for nonpayment for services rendered. The City Clerk uses a manual system to calculate payroll and accounts payable. RUBA staff was not able to locate a record of monthly billings during a site visit in June 2008, although a few residents pay for the service on a regular basis. At the advice of RUBA staff, a NEBS cash receipt system was recently purchased for accounts receivable.

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.
No 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
As of July 2008, the City has a large balance due to the Internal Revenue Service for the first two quarters of 2008 due to lack of regular depositing. Significant penalty will be assessed

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.
No The utility has personnel folders on every employee that contain at least: I-9, Job Application and Letter of Acceptance.
No 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
Chapter 75 of the City Code of Ordinances outlines the Personnel Policy.

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.
No 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 of Teller is the owner of the Washeteria and sanitation equipment used to haul trash and honey buckets. The seven member City Council is active in policy making for the utility, but has not enforced policy regarding collections of monies owed to the City. The City Clerk assumes the role of Utility Manager and bookkeeper for the utility. Operators of the water treatment plant are employees of the Bering Straits School District. As stated earlier in this report, Chapter 31 of the City Code addresses the rules and regulations necessary to give the City authority to operate. However, while gathering documents for the purpose of this report, RUBA staff located three versions of an ordinance with differing rate schedules and revisions. RUBA staff recommends the City Council review the most recent ordinance during a public meeting.

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.
Yes 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".
Yes 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
Jonathan Kakaruk is certified Operator in Training for Water treatment and Water distribution. Jonathan is an employee of the Bering Strait School District, who operates the City of Teller Washeteria and Water Treatment Plant. The City distributed the 2006 Consumer Confidence Report on water quality that the RMW assisted them with. At the time of this report, the Teller School and Washeteria meet all required regulations. At the time of this report, the City had completed a 2007 Consumer Confidence Report, but it had yet to be certified by State Department of Environmental Conservation. Maintenance of the washeteria/water treatment plant is provided by Bering Straits School District.