Quarterly Report: 2011, January - March (Q3), Akiachak

Community:
Akiachak 
Staff:
Fred Broerman  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Federally Recognized Tribe 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
Akiachak Native Community 
Population:
644  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
5/4/2011 
Community Sanitation Overview:
The Akiachak Native Community-IRA (ANC) operates the washeteria, water treatment plant, garbage collection, and the honey-bucket haul system. The ANC-IRA council is the policy making body for the utility. A new well, water tank, water treatment plant and a road to the new lagoon have been completed. Currently, 72 homes and the school and teacher's housing units are served by a piped water system. About half of the community residents are not on a piped system, and haul water from the community's watering point. ANC provides container haul (hoppers) for sewage. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Correspondences were emailed to Akiachak Native Community- IRA on July 1, 2010, September 21, 2010, December 21, 2010 and March 25, 2011 requesting documents needed for verification of RUBA essential indicators. At the time of this writing the tribe has not responded to these requests. Therefore, the IRA is not in compliance for several essential indicators until documents needed for verification can be provided. In late November of 2010 the tribe hired a new administrator who is dealing with numerous financial problems the tribe has due to non-activity of administrative responsibilities from past leadership. Bethel RUBA staff contacted the new administrator on January 4, 2011 to offer assistance and bring him up to speed about their RUBA compliance. Also during this first quarter of 2011 the tribe's long time account and bookkeeper resigned. Both were very skilled in QuickBooks and did their jobs well. The tribe's billing for its piped water and sewer system is handled by Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium's (ANTHC) Billing Assistance Service. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Bethel staff is willing to work with Akiachak IRA's administrative staff to help the tribe with non compliant RUBA Essential Indicators.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
17 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
15 of 27
Total Score:
32 of 54

Finances

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.
No 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
The tribe has not provided the Bethel RUBA office with an adopted budget for FY11. The tribe has not provided RUBA staff with monthly financial reports since July 2010, nor have meeting minutes been provided that document that the tribal council has an opportunity to review financial reports. On January 3, 2011 Akiachak Limited (the community's electric utility) indicated that the IRA was five months past due on their water treatment plant, pump station and laundromat electric bills. The community subsidizes its water and wastewater operations through gaming proceeds, but the tribe has not had a State of Alaska Gaming permit since 1990 and continues to hold gaming activities. This situation, along with significant unpaid federal payroll and gambling taxes from 2009 back to 2003, kept the tribe from receiving a bulk fuel loan from Alaska Energy Authority. On October 4, 2010, Akiachak IRA received a Rural Alaska Fuel Services (RAFS) Bridge Loan for their bulk fuel delivery for fall of 2010. Unfortunately, a January 4, 2011 phone conversation with RAFS indicated that the tribe was past due on their December 2010 and January 2011 Bridge Loan repayments. Also a January 4, 2011 phone conversation with Akiachak Bulk Fuel Tank Farm revealed that there is a significant outstanding balance for the tribe's share in the operational and maintenance and renewal and replacement costs of the fuel facility.

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.
No 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 tribe's accounting is done with QuickBooks Pro and they are on a calendar year fiscal cycle. An example of a water and wastewater billing statement and a collections policy were provided and are in RUBA files in Bethel. Billing for Akiachak's piped water and wastewater services is being handled by Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium's (ANTHC) Billing Assistance Service. A February 2011 financial summary from ANTHC indicated that the tribe had a ninety-nine percent year-to-date collection rate for FY11. However, an accounts receivable aging report for the tribe's non-piped customers showing the status of commercial and residential accounts for 30, 60, and 90 days was requested in a March 25, 2011 quarterly RUBA information request. However, an aging report was not submitted to the Bethel regional office. Therefore it could not be determined if the tribe has an accounts receivable system in place which tracks non-piped customers and reports past due accounts and amounts. A cash receipt book is used for receiving cash and transactions are eventually being entered into QuickBooks.

Tax Problems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes 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 tribe did not fill out and submit an Authorization to Request Federal Tax Information form to the Bethel RUBA office that was emailed to them on March 25, 2011. Therefore it could not be determined if the tribe is current on its federal tax filings and payments for 2010. However, the tribe has significant delinquent federal 941, 11C and 730 taxes and is listed on the January-February 2011 Lien Watch: A Review of Small Community Liens for tax years 2003-2009. As of this writing the tribe does not have a State of Alaska gaming permit and is not current on the fees owed to the Department of Revenue for gaming activities conducted without a permit from 2006 through 2009.

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
Akiachak's workers compensation policy through March 27, 2011 with Liberty Northwest Insurance Corporation was cancelled on June 15, 2010 because of failure to provide tax information for an audit. The State of Alaska Workers Compensation data base indicates that the tribe now has coverage through Alaska National Insurance Company. However, a January 4, 2011 email correspondence from Alaska National indicated that tribe's new policy is pending cancellation due to payments not being current. Job descriptions for their tribes administrator, business manager, accountant, bookkeeper, water manager and water operator, along with copies of three 1-9s, were provided and are in RUBA files. The IRA's administrative staff also provided Bethel RUBA staff with two examples of their employment verification forms which contained similar information as a letter of acceptance. Evaluations are not mentioned in the tribes personnel policy and employees indicated evaluations do not occur. Akiachak's IRA should adopt and follow a written personnel evaluation process for their employees that ties job descriptions to the evaluation. An employees performance should be reviewed and/or evaluated at least once a year. Tribal administrative staff provided the Bethel RUBA office with performance evaluations of two employees that were conducted on March 26, 2010. However these evaluations were generic in nature and not directly tied to the employees' job descriptions.

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.
No 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
No 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
Akiachak Native Community Water and Wastewater Ordinance as well as the Akiachak Piped Water and Wastewater System Business Plan is in RUBA files. The business plan was completed in January of 2005 and contains the business managers resume on page 33 and a utility organization chart on page 4. The tribal staff also provided a more current organization chart. However, verification that either chart had been adopted by the tribal council was not provided. As of April 9, 2011 the State of Alaska's Certified Water/Wastewater Operator Database indicated that Akiachak's lead water and wastewater operator currently has an Operator in Training (OIT) certificate for water treatment and water distribution. His certification needs to be upgraded to the new provisional level certificate. The tribe's assistant water and wastewater operator has a provisional certificate. Both operators need to take the level II test to be in compliance for operating ANCs Class II water treatment facility.

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.
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.
No The utility has completed and distributed its "Consumer Confidence Report".
Yes 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
A preventative maintenance plan is on file with Bethel RUBA staff. The water and wastewater facility has capacity to service seventy more residences.