Quarterly Report: 2009, October - December (Q2), Platinum

Community:
Platinum 
Staff:
Ralph Andrew  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Federally Recognized Tribe 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
Platinum Traditional Village 
Population:
35  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
2/13/2009 
Community Sanitation Overview:
Nine households and the public school are connected to a piped water system and operate private septic sewage systems. Nine households access water from a public watering points and operate private septic systems. The remaining households, roughly eight, access water from public watering points and dispose of honeybucket waste in private seepage pits. The public water system distributes untreated water. A washeteria constructed in recent years is not in use but may be completed as early as summer 2008. A state Village Safe Water Water/Sewer and Solid Waste Feasibility Study was funded in FY 2003 to assess water, sewer and solid waste needs including a water storage tank, new water treatment plant, connections and plumbing, sludge disposal site, and landfill. The water/sewer system renovation project, with assistance from Village Safe Water, is in design and construction will start as early as summer 2009. The City operates the electric utility and landfill. Community fuel storage capacity is as follows: Arviq village corporation. (67,100 gals.); City Power Plant (5,600); Lower Kuskokwim Schools (7,000). 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
RUBA continues offering assistance to the Platinum village council but has not heard consistent responses from village council staff. In prior quarters, village staff maintained satisfactory RUBA essential indicators but presently RUBA has not been able to confirm the village council is satisfying several RUBA indicators. The Village Safe Water (VSW) engineer assigned to Platinum was in contact with the village administrator and RUBA during the quarter; the engineer continues encouraging the administrator to maintain contact with RUBA and address deficient RUBA essential indicators. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA will continue offering assistance including onsite support as the community continues preparing for sanitation system improvements.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
12 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
17 of 27
Total Score:
29 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.
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.
Yes A monthly manager's report is prepared.
Yes Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
The utility's calendar-year 2008 water/sewer budget was balanced and realistic. RUBA awaits confirmation from the village council that a balanced, realistic FY 2009 budget was adopted. RUBA also awaits confirmation from the utility that revenues are covering expenditures. In prior quarters, staff provided consistent financial and operational reports to the council. Staff uses QuickBooks accounting software and spreadsheet-based financial reports provided by RUBA. Fuel supplies were said to be adequate in the community at this time but RUBA awaits confirmation of the current status of fuel.

Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No The utility has adopted a collection policy and actively follows it.
No 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.
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 village council serves as the utility board and, in prior quarters, enforced the water/sewer ordinance including a collections policy. RUBA awaits confirmation from the utility that customer billing and collections are underway and consistent. Staff use QuickBooks accounting software for bookkeeping including utility billing, accounts payable, and payroll processing. Staff utilize a written procurement policy that requires approval prior to purchase. RUBA continues to recommends staff reconcile all bank accounts monthly.

Tax Problems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No 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
According to the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service on October 20, 2008, the village council was meeting most but not all federal tax filing and deposit requirements. RUBA awaits permission from the village council to confirm the current status of federal tax obligations. RUBA will update this section of the report upon confirmation of federal tax compliance. Concerning state ESC tax, on December 30, 2008 the Department of Labor indicated the village council is meeting ESC tax obligations through the quarter ending September 30, 2008.

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.
Yes 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.
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
Staff provided RUBA with an employer's notice of insurance indicating workers' compensation insurance coverage through March 25, 2009. Staff utilizes a comprehensive personnel policy and are presently reviewing its content to ensure it meets current standards. The policy includes a written evaluation and hiring process. Personnel recordkeeping improved in recent quarters at RUBA's recommendation including improved personnel folders.

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.
No The policy making body enforces utility policy.
No The utility has an adequately trained manager.
Yes 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
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 actively sets utility policy through ordinance; at this time RUBA awaits confirmation that the utility policies including collections are being enforced. The village administrator also serves as the water operator and returned to employment with the village council early in the fourth quarter. An alternate water operator was employed in prior quarters and provided coverage when necessary. Administrative staff are trained and experienced. The village council meets as required.

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.
No 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".
No 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
A trained water operator has provided basic instruction to two alternate water operators in prior quarters. In prior quarters the operator was seeking out an alternate operator to ensure continuity. Staff utilizes a preventative maintenance plan that includes checklist of operational requirements, an inventory control list, and critical spare parts list. The operator maintains contact with the Remote Maintenance Worker based in the Yukon-Kuskokwim region. The utility was listed on an Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation Significant Non-Complier (SNC) list published November 13, 2008 for a Surface Water Treatment Rule Unfiltered violation but is actively seeking system improvements that will facilitate compliance. The utility timely submitted its Consumer Confidence Report.