Quarterly Report: 2014, April - June (Q4), Akiak

Community:
Akiak 
Staff:
Fred Broerman  
DCRA Regional Office:
Bethel regional office 
Gov't Type:
Federally Recognized Tribe 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
Yes 
Agreement Date:
1/9/2006 
Entity:
Akiak Native Community 
Population:
355 2013 DCCED Certified Estimate 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Completed 
Assessment Date:
12/31/2008 
Exp Date:
1/9/2008 
Last Updated:
7/8/2014 
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 wastewater 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:
Bethel RUBA staff visited Aniak's city office May 6-9, to assist the office manager with creating a RUBA compliant budget vs. actual monthly financial report spreadsheet, which is more user friendly and better suited for tracking the various expenses now associated with the public works department. The project entailed making separate classes for the wastewater utility, streets and roads, equipment rental and landfill instead of lumping most of their expenses to the public works department. Changes were made in the FY14 spreadsheet, which will be used as a template for the city's FY15 budget/monthly financial report. While there, Bethel staff attended a city council meeting held on May 7, and was asked to give a brief summary of the RUBA program and explained why working on the city’s financial reporting system is an important first step toward compliance with RUBA indicators. During and after the council meeting Bethel RUBA staff was also asked for advice on a land covenant, a potential MOA with the local tribe regarding city roads. Currently, there are no water or wastewater construction projects scheduled for the City of Aniak in the near future. Within the last year, RUBA staff has sent four email inquiries to the city office requesting documents needed for evaluating RUBA compliance. As of the date of this writing, most of the documents requested in the emails have not been provided. The city has not responded to requests for information needed to evaluate RUBA indicators for over three years. However, the city's office manager and mayor regularly contact the Bethel regional office asking advice. The tribal office has been sent emails requesting documents needed for evaluating RUBA compliance on March 16 and 22, June 6, September 12, and December 18, 2012 and March 11, September 18 and December 15, 2013 and March 19, 2014. The tribe has not provided Bethel regional office staff with many of the documents necessary for evaluating compliance for RUBA indicators. Therefore, several of the essential and sustainable indicators have been changed to noncompliant since the completion of the July 2011 assessment. Akiak Native Community has utilized the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) Billing Assistance program since April of 2008. However, in February of 2014, the tribe decided to discontinue using the Billing Assistance program. The tribe's bookkeeper attended a RUBA sponsored Financial Management training in Anchorage from March 10-14, 2014.  
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:
13 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
18 of 27
Total Score:
31 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.
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
An adopted FY14 budget for the utility emailed to the Bethel RUBA regional office on September 25, 2013. The tribe is on a calendar year budget cycle. However, monthly financial statements have not been provided since August 2013 and minutes from tribal council meetings that document council members reviewing and approving monthly financial reports have not been provided for three years. 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 April 2, 2014 indicated that the tribe has significant electric bill balances on one of its lift stations and on its pump house accounts which are not covered by the MOA. The tribe purchases fuel from the Kokarmuit Village Corporation the community’s local fuel retailer. A phone call on April 4, 2014 to the Kokarmuit Village Corporation indicated that the retailer has enough fuel to supply the tribe’s water plant with heating fuel for the winter of 2013/2014 and indicated the tribe's water plant fuel account is current. Since meeting minutes to tribal council meetings have not been provided, whether or not a manager’s report was provided could not be determined.

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.
No An accounts payable system is in place.
No 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.
No 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. Although the water and sewer ordinance is in place, RUBA staff was unable to verify that it has been approved or adopted by the tribal council. From April 2008 until February 2014 utility customers were billed on a regular basis by Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium's (ANTHC) Billing Assistance Service. A January 2014 financial summary from ANTHC indicates that the tribe only had has a fifty-five percent year to date collection rate for (federal) FY14. The tribe has not demonstrated that it has an accounts payable system in place or a payroll system that correctly calculates employee wages and taxes. Bank statements or reconciliatons have not been provided for January or February 2014. The administrator approves all check/purchase requests after verifying the funds are available in the budget. RUBA staff has reviewed purchasing files. They 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
A March 18, 2014 correspondence from IRS indicates the tribe has significant outstanding balances on their federal payroll and gaming tax liabilities and as well as W-2 reporting issues. A March 21, 2014 email correspondence from Alaska Department of Labor in Anchorage indicated the tribe is current on their filings and deposits for Employment Security Taxes through December 31, 2013. The tribe did not appear on the January-February 2014, 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 November 29, 2013 phone conversation with the Department of Labor's Worker's Compensation office in Anchorage indicated that the tribe’s worker compensation policy was cancelled on March 19, 2013. A copy of the tribe’s personnel policies, revised on July 23, 2003, was provided to RUBA staff for review. However, documentation to verify council approval or adoption of the policies or the revision by the council has not been provided. RUBA staff reviewed job descriptions for the bookkeeper, water treatment plant operator, administrator, and laundry 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. 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 have completed QuickBooks introduction and advanced trainings. The tribe's bookkeeper attended a RUBA sponsored Financial Management training in Anchorage from March 10-14, 2014.

Organizational Management

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No The entity that owns the utility is known; the entity that will operate the utility is set.
No The policy making body is active in policy making of the utility.
No 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. From April 2008 until February 2014 utility customers were billed on a regular basis by Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium's (ANTHC) Billing Assistance Service. A January 2014 financial summary from ANTHC indicates that the tribe only had has a fifty-five percent year to date collection rate for (federal) FY14. 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. 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, 2015 and the second operator is not certified. The tribe's 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, 2015 and the second operator is not certified. The tribe's utility is a Water Treatment Class 2 facility. A phone call to the community's remote maintenance worker (RMW) in December 19, 2013, 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. A copy of the tribe's 2012 Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) and accompanying certifcation form are electronically filed at the Bethel RUBA office. The water plant is not on the January 2014 Significant Non-Complier'(SNC) list.