Quarterly Report: 2011, April - June (Q4), Tuluksak

Community:
Tuluksak 
Staff:
Eli Jacobson  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Federally Recognized Tribe 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
Tuluksak Native Community 
Population:
373  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
8/3/2011 
Community Sanitation Overview:
The traditional council operates the washeteria, water treatment plant, container haul system, and electrical services for the community. Only one watering point, with storage capacity of 7,000 gallons, serves the entire community, washeteria, clinic, and the school. Residents haul honey-buckets to 21 bins located sparingly throughout the community.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
RUBA staff arrived in Tuluksak on Wednesday May 11 and met with the administrator. The power was out in the town all day so the Tuluksak Native community building was dark and computers were not accessible. Tuluksak Native Community runs the power plant and provides power to the utility. Brownouts and blackouts are reported to be common. RUBA staff worked with the administrator to gather as much of the assessment information as possible. RUBA staff learned that Tuluksak's budget and financial reports are done by consultant Kate Chaussee located in Soldotna. Financial information is now being requested from the consultant. RUBA staff spoke to Principal Lance Jackson and several teachers. The school is one of the two main utility customers. Principal Jackson communicated dissatisfaction with the water service the school was receiving prior to January 2011, but stated that the service has improved. He stated that several times before January 2011 service had stopped for periods of up to forty-eight hours. The credit for the improvement belongs to Water Operator Carl Napoka who was rehired after retiring for a while. However, Mr. Napoka will not be able to do the duties much longer, and there is a clear need for an apprentice to be trained before those skill sets are lost. Mr. Napoka has been working with two apprentices and they are scheduled for training. The power was restored on the second day.The remaining assessment information was collected and a copy of the RUBA Compliance Guide to the Indicators was left with the administrator. Essential indicators found to be deficient were highlighted and explained. RUBA staff departed for Bethel that evening. On June 17, the draft assessment was sent to the community. During the interim of the draft and the final assessment, additional essential indicators were met. The assessment was finalized on June 27.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff will continue to work with Tuluksak on the remaining indicators in order to bring them into RUBA compliance.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
15 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
10 of 27
Total Score:
25 of 54

Finances

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes 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.
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
The Tuluksak Native Community has an FY11 budget that has been prepared for them by Alaska Rural Empowered, a consultant group hired by the community. The council adopted the budget by resolution dated March 3, 2011. However, the meeting minutes that were provided did not document this. Also Rural Alaska Empowered stated they have changed the budget since then. These changes need to be put into an amended budget. The utility budget has revenues of $68,000 and expenditures of $73,065 equaling a negative balance of $5,065. However, the Tuluksak Native Community revenue is $968,709 with only $919,385 in expenditures providing a positive balance of $49,324. This is more than enough to subsidize the utility; the utility budget does not identify or include a subsidy. Monthly financial reports have been prepared by Alaska Rural Empowered but the meeting minutes do not reflect distribution to the council members during the last three months. Tuluksak Native Community operates its own electric plant and the water plant is not billed, but experiences frequent power losses. During the entire first day of this assessment the power was out. The administrator stated that the utility has enough fuel for one year. The budget does not have a line item or an account established for repair and replacement. The council meets twice a month.

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.
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
Tuluksak Native Community is working on a utility collection policy. Customers are currently billed on a prepay system. The administrator and accountant have attended QuickBooks training. However, a manual system is still being used for accounting while they are transitioning to QuickBooks. Accounts receivable, accounts payable, and the payroll are done with a manual system. A receipt book is used for all customer payments. The administrative secretary showed the file cabinet with all the vendors containing invoices and payment records. The administrator has to approve all purchases up to five thousand dollars. The tribal president approves purchases between five and ten thousand dollars. Purchases above ten thousand dollars must go before the council. Receipts are kept of these purchases. Monthly bank reconciliations were not provided.

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
The Tuluksak Native Community uses a manual system to calculate and report payroll taxes. The tribal administrator and accountant have both been to QuickBooks training and are in the process of converting to a computerized system. A form requesting release of federal tax information from April 2008 to March 2011 was sent to the IRS on May 13, 2011. On June 8, 2011 the IRS verified that Tuluksak is current on Federal taxes; however, the state Department of Labor (DOL) was contacted on June 9, 2011 and DOL stated that Tuluksak owes Employment Security Contributions for the first quarter of 2011. Tuluksak is not on the Lien Watch dated March-April 2011.

Personnel System

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes 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.
No 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
Tuluksak Native Community's workers compensation insurance is through the Alaska National Insurance Company for the period from 9/1/10 through 9/1/11. A personnel policy has not been adopted. The utility has written job descriptions for all positions that were available for review at the time of the assessment. The utility does not have an adopted personnel evaluation process. Evaluations are done orally. The utility needs a written hiring process. Personnel folders contain job applications, but not I-9's, and letters of acceptance. The administrator stated utility has a probationary period of ninety days with an evaluation after three months, but there was no written documentation. On-the-job training and additional training opportunities are provided as necessary. Staff are encouraged to pursue further training opportunities.

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.
Yes 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.
No 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.
Yes The policy making body meets as required.
Yes The utility complies with the open meeting act for all meetings.
Organizational Management Comments
Tuluksak Native Community owns the utility, and is the policy making body. A collection policy needs to be adopted. The administrator has fifteen months experience and performs the duties of a manager. All other administrative staff have been hired since February 2011. The utility operator has ten years experience, but is not on Alaska's Certified Water/Waste Water Operator list. The ordinances need to be updated and written in a way that provides the city staff the authority they need for operation. The policy making body meets twice each month and meetings are open to the public. The meetings are posted in four different public places and meet the requirements for the Open Meetings Act.

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.
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's operator is Carl Napoka, a permanent part time employee. Mr. Napoka is not on Alaska's Certified Water/Waste Water Operator Database. Mr. Napoka has ten years experience, but states he will not be able to do this job much longer. He came out of retirement just to help his community when the last water operator quit. Mr. Napoka has been trying to train an apprentice for the community. Two trainees are being sent into water operator training. The utility has a preventative maintenance plan on the wall. The administrator is in regular contact with the utility operator, and receives regular verbal status reports, but does not spot check the facility. The utility should create a safety manual, and hold regular safety meetings. The utility has had no major outages since December of 2010. The operator provides status reports to the administrator. While the assessment was being conducted the operator came in and informed the administrator of parts that were needed. The posted CCR is dated July 7, 2008 which does not meet the requirements for a current report. The city is not on the April 2011 Significant Non-Compliance list. The utility does not have an inventory control, or critical spare parts list.