Quarterly Report: 2007, April - June (Q4), Gambell

Josephine Bahnke  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Agreement Date:
City of Gambell 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
Water is derived from a shallow aquifer at the base of Sivuokuk Mountain, and is treated and stored in three storage tanks. One hundred twenty-one homes and 13 public and commercial buildings including the school and washeteria are now connected to the piped water and sewer system. Forty three homes in the original townsite still haul water and honeybuckets. A feasibility study is complete. A new water source and additional water storage tanks are needed to ensure no shortages will occur. Significant infrastructure growth is proposed over the next 5 years. The first phase of improvements upgraded the existing infrastructure, including water treatment, lift station upgrades, and a 2.2 million gallon water storage tank. The second phase will be to develop a well field 2 miles outside of town at the south end of Troutman Lake, and construct a summer only raw water transmission line. The third phase will be water and sewer service to Old Town (approximately 43 service connections). Ultimately, there will be 174 residential services.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Nome RUBA staff traveled to Gambell on May 8-9, 2007 to work with the Utility Clerk on monthly financial reports and FY08 budget. On June 14, 2007, Nome RUBA participated in a Technical Assistance Providers meeting. The group consists of various State and Federal agencies seeking to assist the City of Gambell to meet regulatory requirements for their water system and RUBA essential capacity indicators. In partnership with Village Safe Water, the City is making lift station upgrades this summer and constructing a large water storage tank next year. At the advice of RUBA staff, the City implemented a user fee increase in February 2007. The increase has helped to adequately support the current facilities as well as the proposed improvements. Other factors that have contributed to improved management of the utility include retention of qualified staff, consistent sampling and reporting, and effective leadership from the Mayor and City Council. Water Operator, Jan Campbell, completed Water Treatment Rules training in May. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Nome RUBA staff will travel to Gambell this quarter to provide on-site assistance to work with City and Utility staff and verify financial status. To the extent possible, RUBA staff will continue participation with the Technical Assistance Providers Group via teleconference. Staff from Village Safe Water, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and Norton Sound Health Corporation will begin the pilot study for the new water treatment plant.
Essential Indicators:
27 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
21 of 27
Total Score:
48 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.
Yes 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.
Yes The utility is receiving revenues (user fees or other sources) sufficient to cover operating expenses.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility is receiving revenues (user fees or other sources sufficient to cover operating expenses and Repair & Replacement (R) costs.
Yes YTD revenues are at a level equal to or above those budgeted.
Yes YTD expenditures are at a level equal to or below those budgeted.
Yes A monthly manager's report is prepared.
Yes Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
The Council adopted FY 08 budget in June 2007. Monthly financial reports are being prepared by the new Utility Clerk and submitted to the Council. This quarter, RUBA staff worked with the Utility Clerk on improving these reports. A rate increase implemented by the City Council in late February 2007 has greatly improved the utility's overall financial picture. Year to date through April 2007, the utility, including washeteria, generated approximately $145,000 and expended $116,000. Nome RUBA staff recommended amending budget items for FY 08 that include water plant supplies/chemicals and equipment maintenance and repairs. Both line items were over expended in FY 2007.

Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility has adopted a collection policy and actively follows it.
Yes The utility bills customers on a regular basis.
Yes An accounts receivable system is in place which tracks customers and reports past due accounts and amounts.
Yes An accounts payable system is in place.
Yes 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.
Yes The utility has a cash disbursement system that records how money was spent.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
Yes A chart of accounts is used that identifies categories in a reasonable, usable manner.
Yes Monthly bank reconciliations have been completed for all utility accounts.
Yes 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 utility has an adopted collection policy, and follows it consistently. The utility and City clerk use QuickBooks Pro for payroll, accounts receivable, and billing. A NEBS cash receipt system is utilized for accounts receivable and Economic Register for tracking expenditures.

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.
Yes The utility is current on making tax deposits.
Yes 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
Gambell Water and Sewer account is in good standing with Internal Revenue Service (IRS) this quarter. The City General Fund account is current on making deposits, but is still negotiating a payment plan for 2006. The IRS will not levy while a request for payment plan is in place. The City Clerk recently provided the necessary financial information to the IRS for the process to move forward. The City plans on utilizing their FY 2008 Municipal Energy Assistance Program funds to pay off their balance.

Personnel System

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes 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.
Yes 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
Gambell Water and Sewer is insured by the Alaska Municipal League-Joint Insurance Association (AML-JIA) for fiscal year 2008 and are in good standing. The Common Council plans to pay a large portion of the insurance bill with their Municipal Energy Assistance Program grant.

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.
Yes 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 Gambell is the owner of the utility. Decision making authority and enforcement of utility policy has alternated from the Utility Board to the City Council. At this time, the Mayor provides supervision to all City and Utility staff.

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
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.
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".
No 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
Village Safe Water (VSW), through contract with CRW Engineers, is moving ahead with a $340,000 water treatment upgrade and design for a new $3.4 million water tank. The 2006 Consumer Confidence Report was completed with the assistance of Norton Sound Health Corporation.