Quarterly Report: 2009, July - September (Q1), 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 service connections.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
In partnership with Village Safe Water, the City is constructing a large water storage tank during this summer. Water treatment efforts are currently focused on corrosion control which are being implemented at this time. A new operator was hired this quarter and completed the Introduction to Small Water Systems training on August 25-29, 2008 in Nome. Nome RUBA staff provided an update during a Technical Assistance Providers Group meeting on September 25, 2008 via teleconference.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Nome RUBA staff will travel to Gambell this quarter to provide on-site assistance to the utility clerk and verify financial status. To the extent possible, RUBA staff will continue participation with the Technical Assistance Providers Group via teleconference.
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.
No Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
The City Council adopted a FY09 budget on May 26,2008. Monthly financial reports are being prepared by the utility clerk and submitted to the council. With the help of Revenue Sharing and Payment in Lieu of Taxes, the City and utility are able to provide adequate resources to operate and maintain water and sewer infrastructure. According to the utility clerk, a budget amendment will be necessary in upcoming months to adequately reflect current spending priorities.

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 manual NEBS cash receipt system is also used for accounts receivable and an Economic Register is used for manually 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
The City of Gambell is in good standing with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and State Department of Labor, Employment Security Division this quarter.

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 2009. The council paid all of the insurance bill with their 2009 Revenue Sharing payment.

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 utility board is meeting regularly during construction season and 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.
Yes 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 a contract with CRW Engineers, has completed a $340,000 water treatment upgrade and design for a new $3.4 million water tank. The 2007 Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) was completed with the assistance of Norton Sound Health Corporation. Gambell water system is on the SNC list currently for Stage 1 violations. A new water system is being designed. Because of funding issues, construction was postponed until summer of 2009. A new storage tank will be built in 2008 in preparation of developing a new water source.