Quarterly Report: 2010, October - December (Q2), Teller

Leroy Seppilu  
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 RUBA staff traveled to Teller two times during this quarter. On the first trip, RUBA staff went there to monitor the municipal election to make sure that all went well. The city council acts as the utility board. There were six vacant council seats this year. The election went well despite the vacant city clerk position. RUBA staff assisted by advising the election judges and the city council with election procedures. In the end, the new city council was sworn in and new officers selected, including a new mayor. On the second trip, RUBA staff traveled to the community to meet with the new city staff and mayor. The new city council has hired a new city clerk and two office aides. The main purpose of the trip was to meet the new city clerk/treasurer and find out how much training she may need. One of the office aides is an expert Internet technician. Two new washers have been installed and two dryers repaired at the washeteria. QuickBooks Pro accounting software program is in the process of being installed and implemented. Both the new city clerk and office administrator are at intermediate/advanced level experience with QuickBooks Pro. The software program will be used to keep track of the city's finances, including trash/honeybucket haul customer bills. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff plans to make at least two trips to Teller to provide utility management training for the new city clerk. Mainly with setting up personnel files. RUBA expects to see major financial changes, for the better, this coming quarter as QBP is installed and implemented. But RUBA staff will closely monitor the City's finances to make sure the transition is done as smoothly as possible.
Essential Indicators:
11 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
9 of 23
Total Score:
20 of 49


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.
No Monthly financial reports are prepared and submitted to the policy making board.
Yes The utility is current in paying all water/wastewater electric bills.
No 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.
Yes A monthly manager's report is prepared.
No Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
The city clerk and RUBA staff reviewed a sample monthly financial report in Excel spreadsheet and RUBA staff recommended in addition to Revenue Categories, (current) Budget, Monthly Revenues, and YTD, that Expected Revenues (Budget minus YTD) be included in the Revenues and in addition to Expected Categories, (current) Budget, Monthly Expendictures, that a Balance (Budget minus YTD) be added to the report to make it more complete and comprehensive. The city will make monthly financial reports once Quickbooks Pro is installed and implemented. The clerk knows how to convert from QBP to Excel spreadsheet. The population of Teller is small, so the washeteria and the trash/honeybucket haul services have to be subsidized no matter how much it reasonably charges to the customers for the utility services. The new city council has declared the trash and honeybucket services very essential services for the community. Last early spring, summer and fall, the services were halted after the city ran out of funds to pay its employees, purchase diesel and gas to run the utility services and trash and honeybucket containers pile high around the village. The city purchased fuel oil and gasoline from the tribally-run store after the city paid its past due account with the store. The fuel may or may not be sufficient to last through the winter, depending on whether or not this winter will be severe. Last winter in March (2009), the whole community of Teller ran out of fuel oil because of inadequate fuel storage. The city did not purchase any fuel during the summer due to lack of money. The city was able to purchase fuel in October after it provided proof (certification of election results) to the Dept. of Commerce, Community and Economic Development's Community Revenue Sharing Program that 2008 and 2009 municipal elections in both years were held.

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.
No A cash receipt system is in place that records incoming money and how it was spent.
No 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
The city is planning to and in the process of installing and implementing Quickbooks Pro 2010v. The city has not billed any trash/honeybucket haul customers the $45 a month bill since early 2009. The city recently hired an office aide to gather information to determine how much is owed by the utility customers. Once that is determined, and once the city installs QBP, utility customers will be billed regularly using QBP. All payroll, payroll records are currently kept manually. The city clerk records all funds received and expenditures made. She is familiar with reconciling bank accounts and is working to catch up with the reconciliations.

Tax Problems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility has a system to accurately calculate, track, and report payroll tax liabilities.
No The utility is current on filing tax reports.
No The utility is current on making tax deposits.
No 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 not paid or filed quarterly tax reports and make tax deposits as required by IRS and Employment Security Division due to lack of funds and a difficult transition city councils. The city is gathering information to determine where it stands with tax reports and payments. The previous city council had made a verbal agreement with IRS to submit reports and payments, but the verbal deal fell through when the city did not receive its Community Revenue Share funds on time because the city did not show proof that municipal elections were held in October, 2008. As of December 2009, the City of Teller has recorded tax liens in the amount of $109,168. RUBA will work with the city to draft a repayment agreement to present to the IRS and Alaska Employment Security Tax.

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.
No 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.
Yes The utility has a probationary period for new hires that includes orientation, job training/oversight, and evaluations.
No The utility provides training opportunities to staff as needed and available.
Personnel System Comments
Although the city is looking for workers' compensation coverage, it has not purchased a coverage yet. The city still has a past due insurance and workers' coverage to AML-JIA. The coverage was cancelled by the insurance provider due to non-payment by the city. While there, RUBA staff observed that the city clerk was in the process of making job descriptions for all of the city's employees

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.
N/A 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 new city council has met twice since the new members were sworn in on October 2009. The city-run utilities are in the agenda in its regular monthly meetings. The utilities, trash haul, honey-bucket haul and the washeteria are the council's top priority since they took office in October, 2009. The city council hired a new city clerk, office administrator and an office aide to get the city administration back in shape as quick as possible. The city clerk position supervises the day-to-day activities of all the city employees. She has extensive office management experience and is proficient with QBP and computer use. The council also hired an office administrator who is experiences with Internet use, QBP and general government. The office aide is experienced with bookkeeping and is assisting with organizing the city's finances.

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
N/A 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.
N/A The utility has a safety manual and holds safety meetings.
N/A 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.
N/A The operator provides status reports to the manager on a routine basis.
No The utility has completed and distributed its "Consumer Confidence Report".
Yes The utility is not on the "Significant Non-Complier" (SNC) list.
No The utility maintains an inventory control list.
No The utility maintains a critical spare parts list.
Operation of Utility Comments
Maintenance of the washeteria/water treatment plant is provided by Bering Strait School District. The city does not have a utility operator since the school treats and stores the water itself.