Quarterly Report: 2010, April - June (Q4), Nanwalek

Community:
Nanwalek 
Staff:
Tammy Helms  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Federally Recognized Tribe 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
Native Village of Nanwalek 
Population:
222  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
8/17/2010 
Community Sanitation Overview:
Water is derived from a surface stream and is treated; a new surface water source is under development. Nanwalek has a piped water and sewer system which serves all homes in the village; most are completely plumbed. The village needs a larger water storage tank, new water and sewer mains, new fire hydrants, and a landfill expansion. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Anchorage RUBA staff traveled to Nanwalek on June 15, 2010, to conduct a RUBA management assessment of the community's management capacity, which is a funding requirement for sanitation projects. RUBA staff met with the tribal administrator, bookkeeper, and the new replacement bookkeeper, who was the former administrator, in the Nanwalek Community Center. A representative from the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) was also available to provide assistance and answer questions regarding the sanitation project. The staff provided general information on the community, and answered questions pertaining to the Utility Finances, Accounting Systems, Tax Problems, Personnel System, Organizational Management, and Operation of Utility. The bookkeeper provided answers to the majority of questions from the assessment with some assistance from the tribal administrator. The assessment revealed management deficiencies in the areas of budgeting and finance. RUBA staff reviewed ordinances and a majority of other required documents pertaining to RUBA management capacity indicators. A tax authorization request form was left for the required signature becasue no one was available to sign the form during the onsite visit. The findings from the RUBA assessment will be presented in a written report that includes recommendations, and an offer of assistance will be provided for any capacity indicators that were not met during the visit.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff will continue to work with the Nanwalek IRA Council as requested to assist them in meeting all of the unmet management indicators.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
16 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
16 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
RUBA staff has not recieved a copy of the adopted FY10 budget from the Nanwalek IRA Tribal Council for the water/wastewater budget. Without documentation, RUBA staff is unable to verify if the utility is receiving revenues (user fees or other sources) sufficient to cover operating expenses. The Housing Authority manages the fuel sales for the community. The bulk fuel facilities consist of a 24,000 gallon diesel tank and a 12,000 gallon gas tank, which are kept with an adequate supply of fuel year round. The Nanwalek IRA Tribal Council receives Indian Health Service (IHS) funds passed through Chugachmiut. The tribe has used those funds to subsidize the water and wastewater enterprise.

Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No The utility has adopted a collection policy and actively follows it.
No 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 has adopted a collection policy but does not actively follow it. Although not all of the homes have curb stops that allow disconnection, some of the homes do, and are not being disconnected for non-payment. In the past, customers were being billed through the ANTHC billing program. Due to lack of payments, ANTHC discontinued the service and customers have not been billed since that time. A few customers continued to pay monthly and those payments were tracked through the tribe's QuickBooks accounting system. This system is used for both accounts receivable and accounts payable. When supplies are needed for the utility, the operator notifies the bookkeeper then submits a check request to the administrator, who either approves or denies the request. Any purchase exceeding $5,000 must be pre-approved by the council.

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.
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 tribe has signed a tax release form; DOL responded that the tribe is currently compliant with all reports and deposits. The IRS reported the tribe is not current with filings. All payroll is calculated and tracked; payroll tax liabilities reports are completed through QuickBooks.

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 Nanwalek IRA Tribal Council has a posted workers compensation insurance policy in effect from March 21, 2010 to March 21, 2010 with Liberty Northwest Insurance Corporation. The tribe reports that it follows their written personnel policy closely. The tribe is updating and revising the written job descriptions for all positions. The probation period for a new hire is 90 days. Training opportunities to staff are provided as funds allow or as opportunities by other sponsors come available.

Organizational Management

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The entity that owns the utility is known; the entity that will operate the utility is set.
No 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
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 council meets monthly and is active in policymaking when needed, although t is not always active in enforcing the policy. The bookkeeper was the prior utility operator and although he is not currently certified, he helps the current operator when necessary. This experience helps him in being knowledgeable and well versed in all aspects of the utility, from billing to the obstacles the utility faces. The tribe does not have a certificated utility operator, although the current operator is trained to competently run the water system. The system is rated by the State of Alaska as a level 2 plant. Due to the hour requirements that a level 2 operator must submit to obtain certification, Nanwalek cannot afford to pay the operator to meet the requirements. The utility has adopted an ordinance that authorizes it to operate, however tribal staff members were not aware that the water and sewer ordinance existed. The utility has also received their Provisional Certificate from the Regulatory Commission of Alaska.

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.
No The utility has completed and distributed its "Consumer Confidence Report".
No 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
The Nanwalek IRA Tribal Council has applied for and has received the Provisional Certification from the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA). The tribe has a preventative maintenance plan for the existing system. The utility operator verbally provides status reports to the tribal administrator when there is a problem, when she foresees a problem, or when the system is running well. The last CCR shown to RUBA staff was a CCR completed for 2007 with the help of ANTHC. The utility does not meet all required drinking water regulations. The tribe is currently on the SNC list for Stage One violations and monitoring violations for SWTR. The utility operator and council try to keep needed critical spare parts on hand but supplies and parts are not recorded on a written list.