Quarterly Report: 2008, July - September (Q1), 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:
10/17/2007 
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:
RUBA staff has recently been notified that the current Administrator for the Nanwalek IRA Tribe resigned. The Administrator's last day was be Sept. 7, 2007 but the Council requested her to continue to stay on another two weeks. The position is paid through Chugachmuit; currently there is no replacement applying for the position. In June the Nanwalek IRA Council contracted with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, (ANTHC) Statewide Utility Association's billing program. The community has had problems with regular billing due to staff turnover and has a low collection rate. There are approximately 40-45 water connections that are billed through the program. In speaking with the billing program they stated that the billings have gone out timely each month but only 5-10 customers have been paying. The Tribe is unable to disconnect those customers who are not paying because when the distribution system was installed curb stops where not included in the project.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
The Council members appear to be focused on training the Council as a whole and staff to allow efficient and effective continuity of the administration and community. RUBA staff will work with the Tribe to provide the requested training and information.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
26 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
23 of 27
Total Score:
49 of 53

Finances

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes All revenues and expenses for the utility are listed in the utility budget.
Yes The utility has adopted a balanced realistic budget.
Yes 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.
Yes 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.
Yes YTD revenues are at a level equal to or above those budgeted.
Yes 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
Nanwalek IRA Tribal Council receives Indian Health Service funds by-passed through Chugachmiut. The Tribal Bookkeeper provided a profit and loss budget vs. actual report that identified sufficient funds to cover operating expenses for the utility. The monthly financial report submitted to the Council consists of a QuickBooks Budget vs. Actual report, along with a Profit and Loss by Class statement.

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 Tribe utilizes a variety of different computer programs (QuickBooks and Excel) for accounts receivable and accounts payable, depending on the service type. The water/sewer service is billed through Excel. The expenses are tracked and reported through QuickBooks. It is recommended that the Tribe use QuickBooks for all their utilities to keep the revenues and expenses in one program. RUBA staff provided on-site training to the Billing Clerk to bill through QuickBooks to allow easier and less time consuming billing procedures. In June, the Council adopted a billing and collection ordinance.

Tax Problems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility has a system to accurately calculate, track, and report payroll tax liabilities.
Yes The utility is current on filing tax reports.
Yes The utility is current on making tax deposits.
N/A 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
All payroll is calculated, tracked and payroll tax liabilities reports are done, through QuickBooks. The Tribe signed a tax release form; the IRS responded that the Tribe is currently compliant with all requirements.

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 with Alaska National Insurance. The Tribe reports that they follow their written personnel policy closely, and all employees are provided a copy. The Billing Clerk reviewed portions of the manual with RUBA staff. The probation period for new hire is 90 days. Training opportunities to staff are provided as funds allow or opportunities by other sponsors come available. The water plant operator has a current Operator in Training (OIT) certificate.

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
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, is active in policymaking, and in enforcing policy. The bookkeeper was the prior utility operator; although he is not currently certified, he helps the current operator when necessary. This experience helps him in being knowledgeable and well versed in the utility in all aspects, from billing to the obstacles the utility faces. The Tribe has an Operator In Training (OIT) trained utility operator; however, the system is rated by the State of Alaska as a level two plant. Due to the hour requirements that a level one or two operator must fulfill to obtain that certification, Nanwalek's operator cannot currently meet the requirements. The Council has reviewed and revised the necessary ordinances that allow the utility to run productively.

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.
Yes The utility has completed and distributed its "Consumer Confidence Report".
No The utility is not on the "Significant Non-Complier" (SNC) list.
Yes 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 received their Regulatory Commission of Alaska Provisional Certification. A preventative maintenance plan was developed and adopted for the sanitation facility. The Utility Operator reports verbally to the Tribal Administrator when there is a problem, he can foresee one, or to report the system is running well. A copy of the CCR was completed with the help of Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. The utility operator and Council try to keep needed critical spare parts on hand.