|The utility billing and collection procedures are included in the utility ordinance which was adopted in 1996. The city council reviews the utility rates on a periodic basis and the rates are published in a separate 'Schedule A' page. Nome RUBA staff has a copy of the code of ordinances.
Due to no financial statements being received by Nome RUBA staff and/or the city council, it is not known if the utility staff bills customers on a regular basis, tracks customers and reports past due accounts and amounts to the city council, and/or whether monthly bank reconciliations are completed for all utility accounts. However, the past records show that even when the utility billed customers on a regular basis, it struggled with collecting past due amounts. According to the May 2011 accounts receivable report, total past due accounts were approximately $29,300 which was equal to about 15% of the total estimated yearly revenues of $195,000, based on user fees. The delinquencies range between over one year and two months on past due accounts. To address this issue, the city council voted to contract the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) billing services for a period of one year beginning July, 2011, but many elderly in the community complained that they were not satisfied with the new service. The city council indicated that the city may opt out of the billing service before June 2012, when the yearly contract is up. In October 2011, the city council did in fact opt out of the billing service.
The utility staff indicated that the QuickBooks accounts may have not been properly set up. Because of improper setup, staff has used Microsoft Excel spreadsheets to keep track of accounts receivable. At the advice of RUBA staff, utility staff contacted the RUBA QuickBooks contractor to have utility's QuickBooks setup reviewed. The contractor advised to create a new QuickBooks company beginning July 1, 2011. Due to the accounting system needing a total makeover, the City of Gambell was accepted as one of the communities for QuickBooks onsite installation. On February 21,2012 Nome RUBA staff and a QuickBooks contractor, traveled to the City of Gambell to install, set-up and train utility accounting staff in using a new QuickBooks file in order to improve the computerized accounting and financial systems used by the water and wastewater utility. The analysis of the old utility file revealed that it was necessary to create a simplified new file. The visit resulted in the creation of a new file which will be presented to the utility staff during the second visit on April 9, 2012.