Quarterly Report: 2012, January - March (Q3), Akiak

Community:
Akiak 
Staff:
Fred Broerman  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Federally Recognized Tribe 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
Akiak Native Community 
Population:
346  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
5/1/2012 
Community Sanitation Overview:
Akiak is a community of approximately 346 residents located on the west bank of the Kuskokwim River. The community's water and sewer sanitation project completed in 2010, provides underground piped water and sewer lines to 83 homes, tribal offices and washeteria, the school, health clinic, Rural Cap, and City of Akiak offices. Akiak Native Community owns and operates the water/wastewater plant and washeteria/Laundromat. A watering point is located at the water plant; residents may purchase hauled water with prepaid tokens provided by the tribe. Akiak Native Community has utilized the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) Billing Assistance program since April of 2008.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
On July 15, 2011 Bethel RUBA staff finalized and distributed a RUBA management assessment report for the Akiak Native Community. An onsite visit to conduct the assessment of the community's utility was completed on May 17, 2011. On September 9, 22, and 27 and December 12 and 29, 2011 the tribe was sent email requests for documents necessary for RUBA compliance and quarterly updates. As of January 4, 2012 the tribe has not provided Bethel regional office staff documents necessary for RUBA compliance. Therefore, several of the essential and sustainable indicators have been changed to noncompliant since the completion of the July 2011 assessment. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff will continue efforts to assist the community in meeting essential and sustainable indicator compliance.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
17 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
19 of 27
Total Score:
36 of 53

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.
No A monthly manager's report is prepared.
No Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
On September 9, 22, 27, December 12 and 29, 2011 the tribe was sent a request for documents necessary for RUBA compliance with RUBA essential indicators. As of January 4, 2012 RUBA staff has not received an adopted FY2012 budget, supporting monthly financials, or city council meeting minutes. Akiak Native Community and Akiak Power Utilities (owned by the City of Akiak) have a memorandum of agreement (MOA) in which water and sewer services are provided to city offices in exchange for electric to the tribal offices and water treatment plant. A phone call to Akiak Power Utilities on September 22, 2011 indicated that the tribe is current in paying its electric bills for its lift stations not covered in the MOA. Fuel is purchased twice a year from the Kokarmuit Village Corporation who purchases its fuel from Crowley. A phone call on September 22, 2011 to the Kokarmuit Village Corporation indicated the tribe's fuel account was current.

Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No 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 has a detailed water and sewer ordinance which includes utility rates and fees, administration and enforcement, discontinuance, restoration of services, a disconnection notice template, a final disconnection notice template, and procedures for reconnection. Pursuant to section 2.14 of the utility ordinance, any bill not paid by the 20th of the following month is considered delinquent and notice is sent. A 'services turn-off' notice is sent one week following the delinquency notice stating time and date services will be discontinued if account remains delinquent. Akiak Native Community has discontinued water and sewer services to nine homes due to delinquent accounts. Although the water and sewer ordinance is in place, RUBA staff was unable to verify that it has been approved or adopted the council. Utility customers are billed on a regular basis as the tribe has a contractual agreement with ANTHC for the Billing Assistance program. A financial summary from ANTHC indicated that the tribe had a one hundred and sixteen percent year to date collection rate for FY 2012 and eighty-two percent collection rate for November 2011. Akiak Native Community uses QuickBooks Pro 2009 for its accounting and payroll. The bookkeeper, proficient in QuickBooks and the tribe's finances, was able to quickly generate the necessary documents as requested to meet essential indicator compliance. Bank statements are reconciled on a monthly basis by the bookkeeper and approved by the administrator. The administrator approves all check/purchase requests after verifying the funds are available in the budget. RUBA staff reviewed an account file which included an approved purchase order, the invoice, payment for purchase, and a copy of the check for payment.

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.
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
Akiak Native Community uses QuickBooks Pro 2009 to calculate, track, and report payroll tax liabilities. The tribe did not fill out and submit an Authorization to Request Federal Tax Information form to the Bethel RUBA office that was emailed to them on December 12 and 29, 2011. Therefore it could not be determined if the tribe is current on its federal tax filings and payments for 2006 through 2011, therefore due to the unknown status of the tribe's federal taxes, two of the 'Tax Problems' essential indicators were marked 'No'. A December 14, 2011 email correspondence from Alaska Department of Labor in Anchorage indicated the city is current on their filings and deposits for Employment Security Taxes through September 30, 2011. The IRA did not appear on the September-October 2011, Lien Watch: A Review of Small Community Liens 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.
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
A January 4, 2012 phone call to Liberty Northwest Insurance Corporation indicated that payments on the tribe's worker's compensation policy are current. A copy of the personnel policies, revised on July 23, 2003, was provided to RUBA staff for review. Documentation to verify council approval or adoption of the policies or the revision by the council was unavailable. RUBA staff reviewed job descriptions for the bookkeeper, water treatment plant operator, administrator, and laundromat attendant which included duties, responsibilities, and required qualifications for each position. Hard copies of the aforementioned policies and job descriptions are on file at the Bethel regional office. Section 8 of the personnel policy requires performance evaluations to be completed at the end of an employee's probation period, prior to the anniversary of the hire date, and bi-annually thereafter. The administrator advised RUBA staff that evaluations are not completed pursuant to policy. Section 5 - Recruiting, of the tribe's personnel policies outlines a detailed posting, application, and hiring process. An open position must be posted and advertised for at least fifteen days and the Executive Director is responsible for hiring employees and completing personnel action forms. RUBA staff reviewed three employee files which included I-9 forms, job applications, letters of acceptance, W-2, a copy of employees drivers licenses, and evaluations and personnel action forms. Section 7 of the personnel policy designates a probationary employment period of 90 calendar days. Annual leave accrues during an employee's probation period but may not be used until successful completion of such. Conversations with staff indicated the administrator completes new employee orientation and encourages staff attend training opportunities pursuant to the tribe's personnel policies. Both the administrator and bookkeeper completed QuickBooks introduction and advanced training in 2009.

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.
No 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
Akiak Native Community water and sewer ordinance section 2.4 deems itself as the utility owner and operator. However, administration was unable to provide documentation necessary for RUBA staff to verify council approval or adoption of the ordinance. Meeting minutes dated February 19, 2008 reflects council's approval of a flat rate for water and sewer services of $105 per month. The tribal administrator has worked for the Akiak Native Community since 2004 and was involved with the tribe's RUBA assessment conducted in 2008. The administrator is experienced and knowledgeable related to the tribe's business and provides the council monthly verbal reports on day-to-day operations. The bookkeeper, who has been with the tribe since 2000, is efficient in QuickBooks and has good institutional knowledge of the tribe's finances. Both have completed QuickBooks introduction and advanced training classes. An organizational chart adopted on May 20, 2011 is on file at the Bethel regional office. The tribe has two primary water treatment plant operators who each work two weeks out of the month, alternating a one week on - one week off schedule. One operator has a Water Treatment 1 certificate that expires on December 31, 2012 and the second operator has Small Water System Treated and Water Distribution Provisional certificates both expire on December 31, 2012. The operators are attaining on the job experience necessary for the next level of certification. The tribes utility is a Water Treatment Class 2 facility. As previously stated, a utility ordinance establishing the tribe as the owner and operator of the utility is in place; however administration was unable to provide documentation to verify council approval or adoption of the ordinance. The council meets monthly or as needed and complies with the Alaska Open Meetings Act voluntarily as it's a tribal entity not required to do so by statute.

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.
Yes 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.
Yes The utility maintains a critical spare parts list.
Operation of Utility Comments
There are two primary water treatment plant operators who each work two weeks out of the month, alternating a one week on - one week off schedule. One operator has a Water Treatment 1 certificate that expires on December 31, 2012 and the second operator has Small Water System Treated and Water Distribution Provisional certificates both expire on December 31, 2012. The operators are attaining on the job experience necessary for the next level of certification. The tribe's utility is a Water Treatment Class 2 facility. A phone call to the community's remote maintenance worker (RMW) in June 2011, indicated monthly written operation, maintenance, and status reports are provided to administration and the RMW. The utility has a safety manual for reference purposes and the administrator discusses safety issues with the plant operators as needed, however a safety log of these events has not been created. Additionally, the RMW advised that the treatment plant is operating at the level of service originally proposed. The utility maintains a critical spare parts list and has on-hand all of the items on the list. However, an inventory control list has not been established for the utility. The tribes's water treatment facility is not on the October 2011 Significant Non-Complier (SNC) list. A copy of the tribe's 2010 Consumer Confidence Report is electronically filed at the Bethel RUBA office along with a certification form signed by the tribal administrator on July 7, 2011 indicating the report was distributed and posted in the community.