Quarterly Report: 2013, July - September (Q1), 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:
10/31/2012 
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 for twenty-five cents for twenty gallons. However, in winter the watering point freezes up and residents cut and melt ice or draw water from the Kuskokwim River. For ten dollars a month the tribe provides hopper haul for sewage of non piped customers which is deposited in their old lagoon. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Correspondences were emailed to Akiachak Native Community- IRA on June 14, September 19, December 12 and 20, 2011, March 16 and 22, June 6, and September 12, 2012 requesting documents needed for verification of RUBA essential indicators. At the time of this writing the tribe has not provided requested information needed to re-evaluate many RUBA indicators. The community subsidizes its water and sewer operations through gaming proceeds, but the tribe has not held a State of Alaska Gaming permit since 1990 and continues to hold gaming activities. Since May 2010, billing for the tribe's piped water and sewer system has been handled by Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium's (ANTHC) Billing Assistance Service which bills about seventy-five residential and commercial customers. About half of Akiachak's one hundred and forty residences are not yet connected to the IRA's piped water and wastewater system, and haul water from the community's watering point and use honey buckets for their sewage.  
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:
8 of 27
Total Score:
25 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.
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
The tribe has not provided the Bethel RUBA office with an adopted budget for FY2011, FY 2012 or FY 2013. Nor has it provided RUBA staff with monthly financial reports since July 2010, or meeting minutes that document that the tribal council has an opportunity to review financial reports. An October 2, 2012 phone conversation with Akiachak Limited (the community's electric utility) indicated that the IRA is now current on its electric bills. The community subsidizes its water and sewer operations through gaming proceeds. An October 1, 2012 query of the State of Alaska Gaming Permit data base indicates that the IRA does not have a 2012 gaming permit, nor has it had one since 1990, yet continues to hold gaming activities. On September 19, 2012 the tribe received a DCRA Bridge Loan to pay for its winter of 2012/2013 heating fuel and took delivery of 35,000 gallons of heating fuel and 12,000 gallons of unleaded on September 29, 2012. The IRA has significant balances on previous Bridge Loans disbursed on November 12, 2010 and September 19, 2011. The tribe's FY13 Community Revenue Sharing payment ($94,212) is obligated (by tribal resolution and loan agreement) to paying down their Bridge Loan balances. An October 2, 2012 phone conversation with Akiachak Bulk Fuel Tank Farm's manager revealed that the IRA has an outstanding balance of over $59,567 for the tribe's share in the operational and maintenance, and renewal and replacement costs for the fuel facility. The IRA also has an outstanding waste heat bill of $14,919.62 with Akiachak Limited.

Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No 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
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.
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 operate on a calendar fiscal year. An example of the IRA's water and sewer billing statement as well as their collections policy have been provided and are on file at the Bethel regional office. Billing for Akiachak's piped water and sewer services has been handled by Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium's (ANTHC) Billing Assistance Service since May of 2010. An August 2012 financial summary from ANTHC indicates that the tribe's year-to-date collection rate is 63% for piped customers for the October 2011 to September 2012 fiscal year. The low collection rate indicates that the tribe is probably not enforcing its collection policy for its piped customers. An aging report has not been submitted to the Bethel regional office for the tribe's non-piped customers. Therefore, the Accounting Systems essential indicator that states: 'The utility has adopted a collection policy and actively follows it' had to be marked 'No'. At the time of this writing the tribe has not provided requested information needed to re-evaluate many RUBA indicators.

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 September 12, 2012. Therefore, it could not be determined if the tribe is current on its federal tax filings and payments for 2010 through 2012. However, the tribe has significant delinquent federal 941, 11C and 730 taxes and is listed on the July-August 2012 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 2012 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 2011. A September 24, 2012 email correspondence from the State of Alaska's Department of Labor office in Anchorage indicates that the IRA is in compliance with their Employment Security Compensation payments.

Personnel System

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No 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.
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.
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
A September 28, 2012 phone conversation with Alaska Department of Labor personnel in Juneau indicated the tribe has not had worker's compensation insurance for its employees since June 15, 2010. Therefore the only essential indicator in the Personnel Systems section of this report had to be marked 'No'. At the time of this writing the tribe has not provided requested information needed to re-evaluate many RUBA indicators.

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.
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
No The utility has adopted an organizational chart that reflects the current structure.
No The policy making body meets as required.
Yes The utility complies with the open meeting act for all meetings.
Organizational Management Comments
An August 2012 financial summary from ANTHC billing assistance program indicates that the tribe's year-to-date collection rate is 63% for piped water and sewer customers during the October 2011 to September 2012 fiscal year. The low collection rate indicates that the tribe is probably not enforcing its collection policy for its piped customers. An aging report has not been submitted to the Bethel regional office for the tribe's non-piped customers. Therefore, the Accounting Systems essential indicator that states: 'The policy making body enforces utility policy' had to be marked 'No'. Akiachak Native Community Water and Sewer Ordinance as well as Akiachak Piped Water and Sewer System Business Plan are in RUBA Bethel office files. The business plan was completed in January of 2005 and contains and a utility organization chart on page 4. The IRA needs to provide a new organization chart with verification that it has been adopted by the tribal council. The tribe has not provided the Bethel regional office with meeting minutes to its IRA council meetings since July 10, 2010. Therefore the sustainable indicator 'The policy making body meets as required' could not be determined and has been marked 'No'. An April 1, 2012 query of the State of Alaska's Certified Water/Wastewater Operator Database indicated that Akiachak's lead water and sewer operator has water treatment and water distribution provisional certificates which will expire on December 31, 2013. The tribe's assistant water and sewer operator has no certificates in the State's data base. Both operators should obtain a level II certificate for operating the community's 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
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.
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.
Yes 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
An April 1, 2012 query of the State of Alaska's Certified Water/Wastewater Operator Database indicated that Akiachak's lead water and sewer operator has water treatment and water distribution provisional certificates which will expire on December 31, 2013. The tribe's assistant water and sewer operator has no certificates in the State's data base. Both operators need to obtain a level II certificate for operating the community's Class II water treatment facility. A preventative maintenance plan for Akiachak's water treatment plant is on file at the Bethel regional office. The facility has capacity to service seventy more residences. Akiachak' water treatment plant's 2011 Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) and accompanying certification form indicating the CCR has been posted and distributed in the community was signed by a water plant operator on June 29, 2012. Both forms are electronically filed at the Bethel regional office. The water plant is not on the July 2012 Significant Non-Complier'(SNC) list.