Quarterly Report: 2014, April - June (Q4), Arctic Village

Community:
Arctic Village 
Staff:
Brendan Smyth  
DCRA Regional Office:
Fairbanks regional office 
Gov't Type:
Federally Recognized Tribe 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
2/16/2011 
Entity:
Arctic Village 
Population:
175 2013 Department of Labor Estimate 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Completed 
Assessment Date:
12/3/2013 
Exp Date:
1/2/2016 
Last Updated:
7/8/2014 
Community Sanitation Overview:
Water is drawn from the Chandalar River, treated, and hauled from the washeteria. The village provides water to two school tanks. The clinic staff hauls their own water. Honeybuckets are disposed of by residents or outhouses are used. Feasibility studies are underway to examine alternatives for a safer water source, washeteria upgrades and new clinic and landfill relocation. The washeteria is the only facility with running water and uses a small solar power system to provide some electricity. The washeteria consists of three washers, three dryers, two bathrooms with flush toilets, and a sink. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
RUBA staff maintained continuous contact with the community throughout the quarter. In May, Fairbanks RUBA staff contacted the VSW engineer for Arctic Village and discussed the current RUBA assessment of the village office. The village has multiple essential indicators to complete before funding can be allocated to the project. On May 22, Fairbanks RUBA staff met with the village accountant concerning the financial section of their RUBA assessment. RUBA staff was walked through how the tribe does business and how they manage the financials with Yukon Accounting in Fairbanks. Using a system of written requests the village complete transactions and receives funds for purchases. The village also sends money to the accountant to be processed and organized. RUBA staff worked with the accountant and village on ways to correct more essential indicators. On June 2, Fairbanks RUBA staff traveled to the village to work with the new village administrator who started in May after the old administrator resigned. While on-site RUBA staff reviewed the essential indicators that were not being met: ‘Workers Compensation insurance’, ‘The entity that owns the utility is known’, ‘the entity that will operate the entity is set’, and ‘The entity has adopted the necessary bylaws to operate the utility’. Also during the on-site visit RUBA staff met with the council and drafted a water and wastewater ordinance. RUBA staff also used the opportunity to explain the significance of the RUBA assessment and how VSW sanitation funding is tied to the assessment. Further, RUBA staff discussed with village staff the importance of signing up for a Workers Comp insurance policy with Alaska National Insurance.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff will continue to work with the village as requested.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
21 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
11 of 26
Total Score:
32 of 52

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.
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.
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
Currently the utility does not have a budget in place, the village uses an accounting firm in Fairbanks and the firm does not currently have enough financial information to create a budget. The village accountant has been giving monthly finance reports to the village council as meetings are completed. The utility does pay the water/wastewater electric bills for the washeteria, as it and the electric utility is owned by the Arctic Village Council. The village currently has a good system in place to pay off their loans as well as cover their operating costs, the question that needs to be asked of VSW is the expected costs for the new washateria. The village needs to work on the sustainable indicators in this section.

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
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 utility recently changed the way they collect funds for the multiple utilities they operate. The electric company uses the pre-pay AMPY card system to collect revenue regularly. Currently a utility policy needs to be created. The school is the only billed water utility customer. The accountant has an accounts receivable system that accurately tracks customers and reports past due accounts. The payroll system is correctly calculated by the village accountant in Fairbanks. The accounts payable system consist of, the village clerk submits a check request to the accountant for payment. The village and accountant have developed an adequate cash receipt and disbursement system. The accountants are still organizing the tribe’s finances and creating a reasonable and usable chart of accounts. The accountants have been able to reconcile the bank accounts and have introduced a purchasing system that requires check requests be sent to Fairbanks after approval by the council.

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
The utility accurately calculates, tracks, and reports payroll liabilities. They are current on their filing of federal and state tax reports. The utility is current in making federal and state tax deposits. .

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.
No 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.
No 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 utility does not have workers’ compensation insurance. RUBA staff discussed with village staff the importance of having workers’ compensation insurance. The village council has a Personnel Policy that has been reviewed and is awaiting adoption by the village council. RUBA staff will review the meeting minutes when the policy is adopted. The utility does have written job descriptions for all the positions; however council needs to adopt a personnel evaluation process and a written hiring process. The utility keeps personnel files in their office that contain each employee’s application, I-9, and letter of acceptance. They do not have a probationary period for new hires. The utility does provide training opportunities to the village employees.

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.
N/A The utility complies with the open meeting act for all meetings.
Organizational Management Comments
The Tribal Council passed the necessary By-laws to define who owns and operates the water utility. The tribal council meets regularly and discusses utility issues; however they do not currently enforce all policies. The manager, bookkeeper, and operator are all adequately trained. The tribal council needs to adopt the necessary rules and regulation to have the authority to operate. The utility has adopted an organizational chart posted in their office. The policy has the necessary rules to give it authority to operate.

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 an operator who is currently certified. Village staff informed RUBA staff of plans for the operator to attend future training. The utility does not have a preventative maintenance plan in place, RUBA staff and the operator will coordinate with the RMW to talk about setting up a plan. The manager does not receive regular reports from the operator. They also do not have a safety manual or hold safety meetings. The utility had one major breakdown last year but have since hired a new operator and released the old operator who was responsible for the breakdown. The utility operates at the necessary level of service, the operator reports any issues to the manager as needed. The community has not completed a CCR report. The utility is not on the April2014 SNC list. RUBA staff suggested they get with the assigned RMW to complete an inventory and critical spare parts list for the utility.