Quarterly Report: 2013, April - June (Q4), Akiachak

Community:
Akiachak 
Staff:
Fred Broerman  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Federally Recognized Tribe 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
Akiachak Native Community 
Population:
644  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
7/24/2013 
Community Sanitation Overview:
The Akiachak Native Community-IRA operates the washeteria, water treatment plant, garbage collection, and the honey-bucket haul system. The IRA council is the policy making body for the utility. A new well, water tank, water treatment plant and a road to the new lagoon have been completed. Currently, 72 homes and the school and teacher's housing units are served by a piped water system. About half of the community residents are not on a piped system, and haul water from the community's watering point for twenty-five cents for twenty gallons. However, in winter the watering point freezes up and residents cut and melt ice or draw water from the Kuskokwim River. For ten dollars a month, the tribe provides hopper haul for sewage of non-piped customers which is deposited in the old lagoon. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Correspondences were emailed to Akiachak Native Community- IRA on March 16 and 22, June 6, September 12, and December 18, 2012 as well as March 11 and April 5 2013 requesting documents needed for verification of RUBA essential indicators. At the time of this writing the tribe has not provided requested information needed to re-evaluate many RUBA indicators. The community subsidizes its water and wastewater operations through gaming proceeds, but the tribe has not held a State of Alaska Gaming permit since 1990 and continues to hold gaming activities. Since May 2010, billing for the tribe's piped water and wastewater system has been handled by Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium's (ANTHC) Billing Assistance Service which bills about seventy-five residential and commercial customers. About half of Akiachak's one hundred and forty residences are not yet connected to the IRA's piped water and wastewater system, and haul water from the community's watering point and use honeybuckets for their sewage. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Bethel staff is willing to work with Akiachak IRA's administrative staff to help the tribe with non-compliant RUBA indicators.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
9 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
9 of 27
Total Score:
18 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.
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
The tribe has not provided the Bethel RUBA office with an adopted budget for FY11, FY12 or FY13. Nor has it provided RUBA staff with monthly financial reports since July 2010, or meeting minutes that document that the tribal council has an opportunity to review financial reports. A January 3, 2013 phone conversation with Akiachak Limited (the community's electric utility) indicated that the IRA has significant balances 30 days past due on its electric accounts. The community subsidizes its water and wastewater operations through gaming proceeds. A January 2, 2013 query of the State of Alaska Gaming Permit data base indicates that the IRA does not have a 2013 gaming permit, nor has it had one since 1990, yet continues to hold gaming activities. On October 3, 2012, the tribe received a DCRA Bridge Loan to pay for its winter of 2012/2013 heating fuel and took delivery of 35,000 gallons of heating fuel and 12,000 gallons of gasoline on September 29, 2012. A December 22, 2012 DCRA Bridge Loan report indicates that the tribe has significant balances 30 and 60 days past due on the 2012 loan. The IRA also has a significant balance 90 days past due on an earlier Bridge Loan disbursed on September 19, 2011. The tribe's FY13 Community Revenue Sharing payment ($94,212) is obligated (by tribal resolution and loan agreement) to paying down their Bridge Loan balances. An October 2, 2012 phone conversation with Akiachak Bulk Fuel Tank Farm's manager revealed that the IRA has an outstanding balance of over $59,567 for the tribe's share in the operational and maintenance, and renewal and replacement costs for the fuel facility. The IRA also has an outstanding waste heat bill of $14,919.62 with Akiachak Limited. At the time of this writing, the tribe has not provided information needed to re-evaluate RUBA indicators for 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.
No The payroll system correctly calculates payroll and keeps records.
No A cash receipt system is in place that records incoming money and how it was spent.
No 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.
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's accounting is done with QuickBooks Pro and they operate on a calendar fiscal year. An example of the IRA's water and wastewater billing statement as well as their collections policy have been provided and are on file at the Bethel regional office. Billing for Akiachak's piped water and wastewater services has been handled by Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium's (ANTHC) Billing Assistance Service since May 2010. Financial summaries from ANTHC indicate that the tribe's collection rates are over 95% for piped customers for October and November 2012. The high collection rates indicate that the tribe is probably enforcing its collection policy for its piped customers. However, an accounts receivable aging report for the tribe's non-piped customers has not been submitted to the Bethel regional office for over two years. Therefore, the Accounting Systems essential indicator that states: 'The utility has adopted a collection policy and actively follows it' is marked 'No'. At the time of this writing, the tribe has not provided information needed to re-evaluate RUBA indicators for this section.

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
Email requests were sent to the tribe on September 12 and December 18, 2012 asking that IRS tax release forms be filled out and returned. At the time of this writing the Bethel office has not received completed forms. Therefore, it could not be determined if the tribe is current on its federal tax filings and payments for 2008 through 2012. However, the tribe has significant delinquent federal 941, 11C and 730 taxes and is listed on the September-October 2012 LIEN WATCH: A Review of Small Community Liens for tax years 2003-2009. As of this writing the tribe does not have a State of Alaska 2013 gaming permit and is not current on the fees owed to the Department of Revenue for gaming activities conducted without a permit from 2006 through 2012. Therefore, three of the 'Tax Problems' essential indicators are marked 'No'. A December 14, 2012 email correspondence from the State of Alaska's Department of Labor office in Anchorage indicates that the IRA is in compliance with their Employment Security Compensation payments and reports through September 30, 2012.

Personnel System

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No 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.
No 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.
No 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 2, 2013 query done on the Department of Labor's Worker's Compensation employer database indicates that the tribe does not have workers' compensation insurance for its employees. A September 28, 2012 phone conversation with Alaska Department of Labor personnel in Juneau indicated the tribe has not had worker's compensation insurance since June 15, 2010. Therefore, the only essential indicator in the Personnel Systems section of this report had to be marked 'No'. Akiachak Native Community Personnel Policy, adopted on June 15, 2004, is on file at the Bethel regional office. At the time of this writing, the tribe has not provided information needed to re-evaluate RUBA indicators for this section. Tribal employees have attended RUBA sponsored trainings over the last three years.

Organizational Management

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes 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.
No The utility has an adequately trained manager.
No The utility has an adequately trained bookkeeper.
No 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
No The utility has adopted an organizational chart that reflects the current structure.
No The policy making body meets as required.
Yes The utility complies with the open meeting act for all meetings.
Organizational Management Comments
Financial summaries from ANTHC indicate that the tribe has collection rates are over 95% for piped customers for October and November 2012. The high collection rates indicate that the tribe is probably enforcing its collection policy for its piped customers. However, an accounts receivable aging report for tribe's non-piped customers has not been submitted to the Bethel regional office for over two years. Therefore, the Accounting Systems essential indicator that states: 'The policy making body enforces utility policy' is marked 'No'. Akiachak Native Community Water and Sewer Ordinance as well as Akiachak Piped Water and Sewer System Business Plan are in RUBA Bethel office files. The business plan was completed in January 2005 and contains and a utility organization chart on page 4. An updated organization chart along with documentation that it has been adopted by the tribal council should be sent to the Bethel regional office. The tribe has not provided the Bethel regional office with meeting minutes to its IRA council meetings since July 10, 2010. Therefore the sustainable indicator 'The policy making body meets as required' could not be determined and is marked 'No'. January 3, 2012 phone conversations with Akiachak's assigned Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation's (YKHC's) remote maintenance worker and State of Alaska, Division of Water staff in Juneau indicated that both Akiachak's water plant operators need to pass the water treatment provisional test. The operators also need to work toward obtaining level II water treatment certificates because the tribe's water treatment plant is a Class II treatment facility. At the time of this writing, the tribe has not provided information needed to re-evaluate RUBA indicators for this section.

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
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.
No 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
January 3, 2012 phone conversations with Akiachak's assigned YKHC remote maintenance worker and State of Alaska, Division of Water staff in Juneau indicated that both Akiachak's water plant operators need to pass the water treatment provisional test. The operators also need to work toward obtaining level II water treatment certificates because the tribe's water treatment plant is Class II treatment facility. A preventative maintenance plan for Akiachak's water treatment plant is on file at the Bethel regional office. The facility has capacity to service seventy more residences. Akiachak water treatment plant's 2011 Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) and accompanying certification form indicating the CCR has been posted and distributed in the community was signed by a water plant operator on June 29, 2012. Both forms are electronically filed at the Bethel regional office. The water plant is not on the October 2012 Significant Non-Complier'(SNC) list. At the time of this writing, the tribe has not provided information needed to re-evaluate RUBA indicators for this section.