Quarterly Report: 2011, October - December (Q2), Chenega

Community:
Chenega 
Staff:
Ronalda Olivera  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Federally Recognized Tribe 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
Native Village of Chenega 
Population:
82  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
2/2/2011 
Community Sanitation Overview:
A surface water collection system with a dam, treatment, and storage capacity of 50,000 gallons, allows for piped distribution to all 25 homes in Chenega. Water treatment/storage improvements and a groundwater well source funds are being sought. Sewage is piped to a 10,000-gallon community septic tank. Refuse collection services are provided. An oil and hazardous waste recycling center was completed in 1998. Funds are needed to complete the purchase of an incinerator.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Chenega was previously meeting all of the essential management indicators. However, in the last quarter there have been no updates recieved by RUBA staff to assure that these indicators are still being met. In discussion with the Remote Maintenance Worker assigned to the community, the community is currently on track with the construction of the new water treatment plant and water storage tank. The project is on schedule set to be completed in five to ten months. RUBA staff has talked with the new administrator for Chenega Bay, and explained the program and to offer assistace.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff will continue to offer assistance to the Tribe in meeting all sustainable indicators currently unmet in the RUBA assessment, as well as maintaining met indicators. Offer of assistance is provided to the Tribe on a regular basis via email and/or letters.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
18 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
17 of 27
Total Score:
35 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.
No 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
Chenega IRA Tribal Council receives IHS funds by-passed through Chugachmiut. These funds are used to subsidize the water and sewer department. The community is small and reports approximately 23 water connections. Water treatment consists of filtering through a sand filter and chlorine injection. The expenses are limited to the basics because of the size of the system and the treatment process. There is a new administrator for the IRA, and she has chosen not to submit financial reports to RUBA at this time.

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.
No 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 adopted a billings and collection policy and they are continuing to enforce it. The water/wastewater service is billed monthly along with a garbage charge. Customers are charged $10/month for water/wastewater and $5/month for garbage. The Tribe's purchasing system consists of making a request to the Bookkeeper who conducts a price check. If the cost of the request is under a $1000, the Bookkeeper has the authority to make the order. If it is over $1000 it must be pre-approved by the Council. The approval process does not compare proposed purchases to budgeted amounts.

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 tribal administrator has not submitted a new IRS tax release form. All payroll is calculated, tracked, and payroll tax liabilities reports are completed by the accounting firm.

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.
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.
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 Chenega IRA Tribal Council has a posted workers' compensation insurance policy in effect from 8/31/10 to 8/31/11. Insurance policy is through American National Insurance. The Tribe has a written personnel policy that was presented to RUBA staff. The policy includes a probation period for new hires. Although there is a policy, there is some question as to how closely the policy is actually followed. The Tribe reports they do not follow a written personnel evaluation process that ties the job description to the evaluation. Training opportunities to staff are provided as funds allow or opportunities by other sponsors come available. The current water plant operator has received his OIT.

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 on the first Thursday of the month. The Council is actively involved with the Chenega Corporation on its many wealthy endeavors along with other large fund programs that are run through the Tribe. Although the water/wastewater department and its revenue is small in comparsion to the tribes other enterprises, the tribe offers some flexiblitiy in customers payment. Customers can either pay monthly or seasonally. The Tribe has an OIT trained utility operator. The system is rated by the State of Alaska as a level 1 plant. Due to the hour requirements that a level 1 or 2 operator must submit to obtain that certification, the current work schedule does not allow the operator to obtain Level 1 or 2 status. The Chenega IRA tribe has an adopted water/wastewater ordinance.

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".
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
As stated previously, the Tribe has an OIT trained utility operator. The operator attends periodic training as funds allow or opportunities by other sponsors become available. The Remote Maintenance Worker also provides onsite training when he is in the community. 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 or he can foresee one. The Water Operator keeps a mental inventory and critical spare parts list but there is no written record.