Quarterly Report: 2011, 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:
2/2/2011 
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:
The Bethel Regional Office sent out information requests on September 21, 2010 and December 21, 2010 so the community's RUBA status could updated. However, RUBA staff has not received correspondence from Akiachak Native Community IRA (ANC) since July 24, 2010, therefore all essential indicators requiring updated documentation are found deficient. ANC hired a new tribal administrator in late November 2010 who seems willing to work through some of the community's financial problems. The community enrolled in ARUC's billing assistance program in June of 2010 and has expressed interest in full ARUC membership. The community continues to have tax problems. The September-October 2010 Lien Watch indicates ANC has unpaid payroll and gambling taxes from 2009 back to 2003 and is delinquent in depositing federal payroll taxes in 2010. A January 3, 2011 email correspondence from Alaska Department of Labor verified ANC is current with their Employment Security Compensation payments. The community subsidizes its water and sewer operations through gaming proceeds. ANC has not had a State of Alaska Gaming permit since 1990 but continues to hold gaming activities. The tribe applied for a gaming permit in 2006 and it was not granted. On January 3, 2011, the State of Alaska Gaming website indicated that a June 1, 2010 gaming application remained in a pending status for 2010; and there is no current gaming permit on file for the ANC for 2011. A January 4, 2011 email correspondence from Alaska National Insurance Company indicated that ANC's workers compensation policy is pending cancellation due to payments not being current. After being denied a bulk fuel loan from Alaska Energy Authority, ANC applied for and received a Rural Alaska Fuel Services (RAFS) Bridge Loan which was paid directly to Crowley Petroleum Distribution for their fall of 2010 bulk fuel delivery. A January 4, 2011 phone conversation with RAFS indicated that ANC was past due on their December 2010 and January 2011 Bridge Loan payments. There is also a significant outstanding balance to the Akiachak Bulk Fuel Tank Farm for ANC's share in the operational and maintenance and renewal and replacement costs of the fuel facility.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Bethel RUBA staff is available to assist ANC as requested. RUBA essential indicators will be re-evaluated when ANC provides verification that it has a valid 2011 State of Alaska gaming permit and is current on its repayment agreement with IRS for past due payroll and gaming tax liabilities. The tribe also needs provide the Bethel RUBA office with an adopted budget for FY11; and monthly financial reports since October 2010, along with minutes from tribal council meetings that verify monthly financial reports have be reviewed and approved by council members.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
18 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
15 of 27
Total Score:
33 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
ANC has not provided the Bethel RUBA office with an FY11 adopted budget or monthly financial reports since July 2010. On October 4, 2011 the community received an $88K Rural Alaska Fuel Services (RAFS) Bridge Loan which paid for their fall 2010 bulk fuel delivery. A January 4, 2011 phone conversation with RAFS indicated that ANC was past due on their December 2010 and January 2011 Bridge Loan payments. A January 4, 2011 phone conversation with Akiachak Bulk Fuel Tank Farm revealed that ANC has a significant outstanding balance for the tribe's share in the operational and maintenance and renewal and replacement costs of the fuel facility. On January 3, 2011 Akiachak Limited (the community's electric utility) indicated that ANC was five months past due on their water treatment plant, pump station and laundromat electric bills. ANC did not qualify for a bulk fuel loan from Alaska Energy Authority because it does not have a current State of Alaska gaming permit. RUBA staff contacted the Department of Revenue regarding this matter and was informed that the tribe has not had a gaming permit since 1990 and is responsible for paying state gaming fees for the years they continued gaming without a permit.

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 ANC accounting is using QuickBooks Pro. ANC is on a calendar year fiscal cycle. The accountant and bookkeeper are long-term employees and skilled workers who easily accessed records and provided verification needed for the accounting indicators. An example of a water and sewer billing statement, an accounts receivable aging summary, and a collections policy were provided and are in the RUBA files in Bethel. ANC's water and wastwater accounts receivable aging report showed only small amounts that were over 90 days past due. However, other services provided by ANC showed larger amounts 90 days past due. A cash receipt book is used for receiving cash and transactions are entered into QuickBooks. ANC provided RUBA staff with the December 2009 and January 2010 bank reconciliations for the water and wastewater account. An example of a typical purchase order and invoice was provided to RUBA staff.

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
ANC is not current on filing federal tax reports and making tax deposits. The September-October 2010 Lien Watch indicates the tribe has unpaid payroll and gambling taxes from 2009 back to 2003 and is delinquent in depositing federal payroll taxes in 2010. A January 3, 2011 email correspondence from Alaska Department of Labor verified ANC is current 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.
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
ANC workers compensation policy for March 27, 2010 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 ANC's policy is pending cancellation due to payments not being current. A copy of ANC's personnel policies adopted June 15, 2004 is on file with RUBA. Job descriptions for the tribal administrator, business manager, accountant, bookkeeper, water manager and water operator, along with copies of three 1-9s, were provided and are in RUBA files. ANC's also provided Bethel RUBA staff with two examples of employment verification forms which contained similar information as a letter of acceptance. Evaluations are not mentioned in the tribe's personnel policy and employees indicated evaluations do not occur. ANC should adopt and follow a written personnel evaluation process for their employees that ties job descriptions to the evaluation. An employee's performance should be reviewed and/or evaluated at least once a year. ANC provided the Bethel RUBA office with performance evaluations of two employees that were conducted on March 26, 2010. 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.
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.
Yes The policy making body meets as required.
Yes The utility complies with the open meeting act for all meetings.
Organizational Management Comments
A copy of the ANC water and sewer ordinance as well as Akiachak Piped Water and Sewer System Business Plan are in RUBA files. The business plan was completed in January of 2005 and contains the business manager's resume on page 33 and a utility organization chart on page 4. The ANC staff also provided a more current organization chart. However, verification that either chart had been adopted by the tribal council was not provided. ANC's primary water and sewer operator has Operator in Training (OIT) certification for water treatment and water distribution. His certification needs to be upgraded to the new provisional level certificate. ANC's assistant water and sewer operator has a provisional certificate. Both operators need to take the level II test to be in compliance for operating ANC'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
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 sewer facility has capacity to service seventy more residences. Construction to connect these residences was scheduled to start in the summer of 2010 but was delayed due to non-compliance with RUBA assessment standards. An operator report was noted in the minutes of the January 2010 council meeting. On March 15, 2010 Bethel RUBA Staff contacted Akiachak's Remote Maintenance Worker (RMW) who indicated that ANC's water and sewer facility does not have a safety manual, inventory control list, or a critical spare parts list. ANC needs to provide documentation that its Consumer Confidence Report is current.