Quarterly Report: 2007, January - March (Q3), Wales

Melissa Taylor  
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; 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 use untreated water from Village Creek. Almost all residents use honeybuckets, and very few homes currently have plumbing. A honeybucket 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. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Anchorage and Nome RUBA staff traveled to Wales on March 19 to complete a reassessment of management practices and to attend a community meeting to discuss the proposed sanitation construction project. The project engineer also attended the meeting. Wales has not complied with the Environmental Protection Agency's Administrative Order to comply with the U.S. Safe Drinking Water Act. The city has been on the Significant Non-Compliance list (SNC) for the last three years, and EPA is threatening to fine the city $27,500 - $32,500 a day for non-compliance. As a result of the October 11, 2006 multi-agency meeting in Wales a water system action plan was developed. All parties present at the meeting committed to aid the city in implementing their plan. During this quarter the EPA contacted the city to develop an Action Plan that basically is a 4-step process and that is to: 1. Secure funding. 2. Order equipment 3. Install the equipment and 4. Show that the city is fully operational according to the appropriate EPA statute of 40 CFR, part 141. RUBA staff is currently providing assistance with the completion of this plan. With the financial assistance of Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation (NSEDC), the city will continue to be able to pay off many debts. Nome RUBA staff continues to have regular contact with Mayor Crisci regarding local government and utility management issues.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
During this quarter the last operable washer in the City broke down. A community of about 151 folks resorted to wash tubs and scrub boards for several weeks before parts arrived and the single washing machine was repaired. NSEDC agreed to purchase 4 new washers for the City of Wales with their community share, the washers are expected to arrive in Wales sometime at the end of April. RUBA staff traveled to Wales on March 20, 2007 for a site visit and attended a joint City/IRA/Village Safe Water/Public meeting regarding the city's sanitation priorities. RUBA staff provided an overview of the RUBA management capacity assement and answered questions. It was determined that the City will not be able to meet the essential RUBA indicators of the management capacity report for some time. It was also suggested that the costs of the proposed sanitation project for the city is significally higher than it was when initially proposed. The community cannot afford to meet the needs of operating such a system. The meeting resulted in both the City and IRA passing resolutions to change the communities sanitation priority to obtaining a new washeteria and water treatment center. The new washeteria would also be home to the health clinic as well as city offices. The cities washeteria is about 30 years old and the clinic was built in 1995 but is in a bad physical location (direct hit from the prevailing winter winds). The clinic gets pounded yearly by the harsh winds and heavy snow fall. The boiler system needs replaced all the windows leak, pipes freeze and break and the list goes on. Norton Sound Health Corporation attempted to assist the city in keeping thier clinic open and operable. However, recently due to NSHC's own financial difficulties they terminated their lease with the city. The clinic operations will go back to the City of Wales July 1, 2007. RUBA staff are working closely with NSEDC on a financial plan for the city. Staff are also currently working on the ordinance revisions, utilities managmenet, IRS issues; Clinic upkeep and grants administration activies. Staff will travel to Wales April 26-27, 2007.
Essential Indicators:
2 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
0 of 27
Total Score:
2 of 54


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.
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.
No A monthly manager's report is prepared.
No Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
With the financial assistance of NSEDC, a check was issued to Alaska Village Electric Cooperative (AVEC) to pay off the city's $11,680 bill. Other payments made by NSEDC on behalf of the City of Wales include $19,000 to the Native Corporation for fuel, Analytica for water testing, and other outstanding payables.

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 of Wales financial situation is basically halted. The city with the help of RUBA staff are currently developing a financial plan to follow in order for the city to begin functioning again. NSEDC will continue to assist in this process as long as funding is available.

Tax Problems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No 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 submitted quarterly tax reports or made payroll tax deposits to either IRS or Employment Security Division since first quarter 2005. There are substantial amounts owed to IRS and ESD for past tax liabilities. Nome RUBA staff has recommended that the city prioritize completing all necessary reports and submitting payments to both with the use of FY07 MEAP funds.

Personnel System

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No The utility has a posted workers compensation insurance policy in effect.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
No The utility has adopted and uses a Personnel Policy, which has been reviewed by an attorney, AML or Commerce for topics and language.
No 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.
No 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.
No The utility provides training opportunities to staff as needed and available.
Personnel System Comments
The City has a permanent part time washeteria attendant who is working on getting his required certifications. RUBA staff are currently working with the city to develop and implement policies and procedures as well as the revisions of all city ordinances.

Organizational Management

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The entity that owns the utility is known; the entity that will operate the utility is set.
No The policy making body is active in policy making of the utility.
No The policy making body enforces utility policy.
No The utility has an adequately trained manager.
No The utility has an adequately trained bookkeeper.
No The utility has an adequately trained operator or operators.
No 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.
No The policy making body meets as required.
No The utility complies with the open meeting act for all meetings.
Organizational Management Comments
The Mayor had asked Nome RUBA staff to provide utility management training for the new city clerk that was hired. But the new clerk quit because she wasn't being paid on a regular basis. The AVEC electric plant operator was also not being paid due to lack of funds.

Operation of Utility

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No The utility operator(s) are actively working towards necessary certification.
No The utility has a preventative maintenance plan developed for the existing sanitation facilities.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
No 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.
No Utility facilities have not suffered any major problems/outages due to management issues that are unresolved.
No The utility is operating at the level of service that was proposed.
No The operator provides status reports to the manager on a routine basis.
No The utility has completed and distributed its "Consumer Confidence Report".
No 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
The city's washeteria and water treatment plant has been on the Significant Non-Compliance list for a very long time. The new washeteria attendant is doing a pretty good job at submitting the cities water samples.