Quarterly Report: 2014, October - December (Q2), Takotna

Community:
Takotna 
Staff:
Roberta Eleazer  
DCRA Regional Office:
Anchorage 
Gov't Type:
Federally Recognized Tribe 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
Takotna Village 
Population:
39 (2012 Alaska Department of Labor Estimate) 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Completed 
Assessment Date:
1/30/2007 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
1/6/2014 
Community Sanitation Overview:
Water from Gold Creek is treated and hauled by residents from the washeteria. Water is also hauled from the Takotna Waterworks. Approximately 20 percent of homes have storage tanks with running water for the kitchen, but no homes are completely plumbed. Community buildings use individual wells and wastewater tanks. Honeybuckets and outhouses are used for wastewater disposal. A feasibility study for water and sewer improvements is complete, but funds have not been secured for construction.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
On October 14, Anchorage RUBA staff traveled to Takotna to assist the tribal administrator with payroll reporting and bookkeeping for the utility. The council was inactive from 2010 until September 2013, when the tribal council voted on its constitution and hired a part-time tribal administrator. Although an over payment had been made on employment taxes previously paid, the tribe had no employees during the first two quarters of 2013, and had not filed the required employment tax reports with the Internal Revenue Service or the Alaska Department of Labor. The previous water utility operator worked for a year without compensation before vacating the position, and the current operator has been inconsistent with submitting required water samples. RUBA staff helped the administrator update financial records, reconcile bank accounts, review payroll accounts in QuickBooks, correct payroll tax deductions and records, and complete past due tax reports. Staff also contacted the RUBA QuickBooks contractor to request assistance for the tribal administrator. Following the on-site, Anchorage RUBA staff held a conference with the Village Safe Water Engineer to discuss Takotna. RUBA staff updated the engineer on some of the issues which were affecting the community and their current lack of progress. In December, Anchorage RUBA staff met with staff from Tanana Chief's Conference (TCC) Self-Governance program to discuss coordination of services for the Takotna Tribal Council. Anchorage RUBA staff also contacted the Takotna tribal administrator to advise her on the status of the Federal Tax Information form dated December 18. According to the IRS case advocate, the taxpayer has not filed reports for the tax periods March 2011 through March 2013; however the report did not show any owed federal taxes. The internet to the tribal office was reconnected in mid-December. Scheduled appointments with the Anchorage RUBA staff to address issues of insurance, taxes and training have not occurred due to flight cancelations. The administrator has received quotes for Worker’s Compensation Insurance from Alaska Public Entity Insurance and the utility operator was successful in obtaining and submitting the December water sample.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff will continue to work with the Takotna Tribe on the essential and sustainable indicators of the RUBA assessment. RUBA staff will coordinate the development of a utility budget with TCC and Ms. Goods and continue to facilitate the developed work plan for completion of payroll tax issues, and the purchase of a worker’s compensation policy. Ms. Good is responsible and receptive to requests for information and needed documents.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
18 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
10 of 27
Total Score:
28 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.
Yes A monthly manager's report is prepared.
Yes Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
Tanana Chief's Conference (TCC) is the regional non-profit entity charged with managing compacted Bureau of Indian Affairs money allocated to the Takotna Tribe. TCC has tracked utility expenses during the period when the Tribal office was closed. However, there is not a specific utility budget.

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
No 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 Takotna tribal administrator reported that all utility accounts are current except the school. She is working with the Iditatod School district in McGrath which is delinquent from September 2013 to present.

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
According to the Taxpayer Advocate Office December 18, 2013 report, Takotna Tribal Council is in compliance with Federal Tax Deposit requirements. Internet to the tribal council office has been reconnected and the administrator is in the process of filing the payroll reports. Tax clearance from the Alaska Department of Labor was granted. Takotna is not listed in the July-August 2013 Lien Watch report.

Personnel System

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No The utility has a posted workers compensation insurance policy in effect.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
No 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.
No 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.
No The utility provides training opportunities to staff as needed and available.
Personnel System Comments
Anchorage RUBA provided the tribal administrator with the names and phone numbers of four workers compensation providers. In December the administrator requested quotes for Worker’s Compensation Insurance from Alaska Public Entity Insurance and will request payment from TCC to the selected provider this month.

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
The tribal administrator is an adequately trained manager and bookkeeper for the utility. However, the process of requesting payments for payroll taxes, insurance, and the internet through TCC has been very difficult. Communication with the Self-Governance coordinator has not been sufficient which caused numerous difficulties and late fees to the utility. Communication after the RUBA work plan was developed has streamlined the process and management needs are currently being met.

Operation of Utility

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility operator(s) are actively working towards necessary certification.
No 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".
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
The utility has a trained operator with a certification set to expire 12/31/2014. However, he has not been consistent with submitting water samples because of reported issues with inconsistent flights. The December sample was submitted correctly.