Quarterly Report: 2007, October - December (Q2), Wales

Josephine Bahnke  
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, clinic, and city building 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:
Nome RUBA staff coordinated a meeting on October 11, 2006 between the Nome Region Remote Maintenance Worker, DEC's Northern Drinking Water Program manager, and Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation (CDQ group) with Wales City Council and IRA Council to discuss the city's washeteria and water issues. 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 was threatening to fine the city $27,500 - $32,500 a day for non-compliance. The result of the October 11 meeting in Wales was the creation of a water system action plan and commitments from all parties present to help implement the plan. On October 12, 2006, Nome RUBA staff assisted the Mayor with drafting a letter to EPA and completing FY07 budget forms. With the financial assistance of NSEDC, the city was able to pay off many debts, and contract with Analytica Group to provide water sampling test kits. NSEDC also agreed to pay for the water plant operator position for a year. At their December 5, 2006 regular meeting, the Council re-organized and selected Frank Crisci as Mayor. Nome RUBA staff continues to have regular contact with Mayor Crisci regarding local government and utility management issues. The washeteria's boiler/heater backup is in need of major repair, but the city has been able to use one of its grants from the State to purchase equipment and parts for the washeteria. In one case, the city requested an advance from the grants to pay for parts and equipment for the washeteria, but the city's bank account was overdrawn. When the grant money was deposited into its account, the city was not able to use it for the intended purpose, as the negative bank balance absorbed it. The city still owes ANTHC's parts/equipment store for at least $3,800, and other vendors are owed unknown amounts from purchases made for the washeteria.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Ongoing assistance will be provided at the request of Mayor Crisci and the Council. Once new RUBA staff community assignments are made, travel to Wales this quarter will be necessary to provide training to the new City Clerk.
Essential Indicators:
6 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
0 of 27
Total Score:
6 of 54


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.
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
With the financial assistance of NSEDC, a check was issued to 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. With RUBA assistance, the City of Wales adopted an FY 07 budget and an FY05 Certified Financial Statement. This made them eligible to receive FY07 Municipal Energy Assistance Program funding in the amount of $40,000 and FY07 PILT money in the amount of $11,000. The new city council decided not to start the bingo games and pulltab sales as recommended by RUBA staff. The earnings were to be used to run the general government and pay for washeteria operations as they have always operated with a deficit. With the influx of NSEDC and State funding, the city's financial picture has greatly improved. The city passed the FY '07 budget and FY '05 Certified Financial Statement on October 18,2006. They also passed the PILT Program participation resolution. This made them eligible to receive close to $11,000 in PILT funds. The city has also received $40,000 in Municipal Energy Assistance Program funds.

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
Due to RUBA staff turnover this quarter, no documentation has been made to verify if the new City Clerk is sending out trash and honey-bucket haul monthly bills. No one is accepting the city's checks in the community because the businesses know they will bounce. There are an unknown number of checks floating around in the community issued by the previous city clerks. The new City Clerk does not have basic accounting skills so the city's bank accounts are not reconciled.

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 primary washeteria operator quit after a dispute with the mayor over parts that were needed for the washeteria boiler. A retired operator was rehired but was not submitting the required water samples to EPA or DEC for testing.

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.
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 city did rehire a retired operator, but he does minimal work. At the time of this report, it is not known if he has sent in the required water samples for tests to EPA or DEC.