Quarterly Report: 2008, April - June (Q4), Diomede

Karlin Itchoak  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Agreement Date:
City of Diomede 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
The City of Diomede and Diomede Joint Utilities are responsible for the management of a seasonal washeteria serviced by a septic system and seepage pit, water treatment plant and 434,000-gallon steel water storage tank/watering point. The water tank is fed by water drawn from a mountain spring that is then filtered and chlorinated at the water treatment plant prior to being stored in the tank. The tank capacity is usually insufficient in the spring each year and residents are forced to melt snow and ice for drinking water. All homes use honey buckets, the waste of which is dumped on the beach in the summer and on pack ice in the winter. The local clinic is connected to the washeteria septic system. The proposed improvements will upgrade the water treatment plant and complete the construction of a new water storage tank next to the school. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Assistance to Diomed was assigneed to new hire Nome RUBA staff Karlin Itchoak. Nome RUBA staff traveled to Diomed in April to provide RUBA assistance to the City Clerk and the City of Little Diomede. The City of Diomed has been compliant with all RUBA management essential indicators since August 2006 and remains compliant. While on-site, RUBA staff met with the city clerk, power plants workes, water plant operator and attended a city council meeting with the mayor, councils members, Northon Sound Health Corporation , Office of Environmental Health staff and project engineer for the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC). RUBA staff was informed of various needs in the community. The water plant boilers have a glycol problem and the clinic and washeteria rarely have had heat this winter. Heat was provided using small electric heaters at great expense. Normally they are heated with biolers from the water plant. The water reseervoir needs arctic pipe replacement between the army building and the local store building. The pipe keeps freezing and by the time it thawas out, the clean snow is melted and the dirty snow collected contains brd feces which makes the water high in nitrates and requires extra filtering. Residents continue to put their raw sewage (honey buckets) and trash on the sea ice for it to melt into the ater. During spring break up, the human feces and urine is melting and seeping into the main trail between the airport runway and the village. Residents walk through it as well as dogs. The snowmachines drive through splashing feces and urine. This continues to be a serious health issue.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Nome RUBA staff will provide technical assistance to the Utility Manager and other city staff upon request.
Essential Indicators:
27 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
23 of 27
Total Score:
50 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
No 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 City of Diomede adopted an FY08 budget on September 5, 2007. The FY08 utility budget consists of administration, electric, and water funds. Revenues and expenditures for each fund are reported monthly by the Utility Manager to the City Council. A majority of revenue is derived from electric customers and this revenue covers expenses for all three funds. The washeteria finances are reported to the Council by the City Administrator. The washeteria operation is partially subsidized by revenues from sales tax through the City administration budget. However, according to monthly financial reports, the washeteria enterprise is able to almost break even with token, retail, and coffee sales. The Diomede Joint Utilities is not receiving sufficient funds to cover repair and replacement costs. The utility continues to look for ways to suppliment the income for the utilities.

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
Utility bills are sent to customers on the first day of the month. If a customer becomes delinquent, the utility manager calls as a reminder. After 20 days from the call, a 48 hour disconnect notice is sent to the customer with the option to enter into a re-payment agreement plan and information regarding energy assistance provided through the State and local tribe. The Utility Manager utilizes a manual and computerized accounting system. Billing and accounts receivable is accomplished with the use of a 1998 version of Excel. Expenses are tracked with the use of a manual ledger.

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 Diomede Joint Utility is in compliance with tax reports and deposits. The City now utilizes the IRS automated service and no longer needs to rely on the U.S. mail system.

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.
Yes 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.
Yes 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
The Diomede Joint Utilities purchased a worker's compensation policy through Alaska Municipal League/Joint Insurance Association.

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 seven member City Council is the policy making body for the utility and enforces utility policy. Chapter 36 of the City of Diomede Code of Ordinances outlines the creation of a Joint Utilities Board, rules and regulations regarding the powers of the board, and utility customer service information. Currently the City does not have a utilities Board, so that power is vested in the City Council. Chapter 36 only includes rules and regulations necessary to give the electric utility the authority to operate. A new chapter with language regarding the ownership and rules and regulations of the washeteria, water treatment plant, or other sanitation infrastructure had a first reading at the City Council's August 14th meeting and was adopted on October 16,2006.

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
Yes 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.
Yes 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.
No The utility maintains a critical spare parts list.
Operation of Utility Comments
The Remote Maintenance Worker (RMW) traveled to Diomede to meet with the Utility Manager to discuss required water samples that need to be taken to be removed from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) significant non-complier (SNC) list. He also met with the operator to go over the operator report and chlorine testing procedures.