Quarterly Report: 2011, October - December (Q2), Chignik Lake

Community:
Chignik Lake 
Staff:
Barbara Higgins  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Federally Recognized Tribe 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
Chignik Lake Village 
Population:
117  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
2/2/2011 
Community Sanitation Overview:
Well water is piped directly to 32 households. An old wood staved storage tank has been dismantled and a large steel storage tank has been constructed farther from the community, at a higher elevation and close to a series of new wells. As part of the project, a new water treatment facility will also be built. The school has its own well. Approximately 70% of the homes are plumbed. Fifteen HUD homes are connected to a central sewer system with a waste pump and lagoon; the remainder use individual septic systems. Funds have been provided by VSW to develop a water and sewer Master Plan. Refuse is disposed of by residents in the new landfill. A power consolidation project was recently finished that generates power year-round from school district owned equipment, and is distributed to the community by Chignik Lake Electric. IGAP funded a project to install Powerstat prepay electric meters for residents in the village, which was completed in early 2006. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
RUBA staff visited the community in December and continued efforts to assist Chignik Lake with returning to compliance with the Power Cost Equalization (PCE) program as well beginning the process for conducting a deregulation election to deregulate the utility with the Regulatory Commission of Alaska. With LGS staff efforts, the community will regain active PCE status and $176,400. subsidy payments; this is representative of what has been lost due to lack of reporting. Annually the utility has the potential to receive $88,200 through the PCE program. The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium water/wastewater project is pending until the utility meets all RUBA essential indicators. The village council has settled a majority of the tax liens with only two smaller amounts remaining. They also received release Tax Liens from the Alaska Department of Labor Employment Security. The Authorization to Request Federal Tax Information was received regarding the Chignik Lake Village Council and for the time period of December 2007 to December 2010. Staff from the village council attended and successfully completed the Financial Management for Utilities training held in Dillingham during this quarter. In September the Alaska Rural Utility Collaborative (ARUC) contacted Dillingham RUBA staff regarding Chignik Lake. ARUC staff was concerned with the efforts to assist the Chignik Lake Electric Utility as well as tax issues dating from before ARUC utility management began. Discussed was the inability of the electric utility to create reports necessary to receive Power Cost Equalization (PCE)payments. Customer balances were discussed as well as the power stat meters currently being used, which are outdated and in disrepair with no available parts. The Chignik Lake village council administrator reported last week that the Bristol Bay Native Association recently worked with the administrator on budgets and reporting so the village council could receive two years of compact money that has been withheld due to lack of an adopted operating budget. ARUC discussed their work in the community this summer, which is nearly complete, that established curb stops at all the residences. This will allow the remote maintenance worker to shut off water service for nonpayment. ARUC management is concerned with the current 10% collection rate for community water/sewer services and requested an update by RUBA staff regarding efforts to assist the community.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA will continue to maintain contact with Chignik Lake and ARUC as they strive to maintain compliance.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
26 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
27 of 27
Total Score:
53 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.
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
Yes The utility is receiving revenues (user fees or other sources sufficient to cover operating expenses and Repair & Replacement (R) costs.
Yes YTD revenues are at a level equal to or above those budgeted.
Yes 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 budget is balanced and realistic. ARUC provides a subsidy when customer revenues fall short of expenditures. This quarter revenues are exceeding expenditures for the quarter ending 12/10. The subsidy is listed in the ARUC monthly financial reports but it does not appear in the budget. ARUC staff produces monthly financial reports presenting year to date activity. Manager's reports are prepared and budgets are amended when necessary.

Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes 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.
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
ARUC bills customers monthly. They operate under an agreement with the village council and have in place an ordinance that includes a collection policy. ARUC maintains a workers compensation policy and uses computerized accounting to monitor and track finances for the community. All accounting is maintain in ARUC's main office and is under the direction of the utility manager. ARUC maintains a chart of accounts, reconciles bank accounts, and utilizes a purchasing system that requires approval prior to purchase.

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
On 11/30/10 the Tax Payer Advocate has deemed the tax payer, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) compliant with federal employment tax filing requirements. ANTHC is not on the tax lien watch list. On 12/22/10 the Department of Labor/Anchorage Field Tax Office grated ANTHC tax clearance.

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.
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
Worker's compensation insurance is provided by Umialik Insurance Company, the policy currently is in effect as documented on the Divison or Worker's Compensation web site on 12/23/10. ARUC abides by a comprehensive personnel policy, maintain personnel folders, utilizes a probationary period for new hires, and provides training opportunities to staff.

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.
Yes The utility complies with the open meeting act for all meetings.
Organizational Management Comments
ARUC oversees water/wastewater utility management with the village council through written, contractual agreement, and actively enforces utility policy. According to the agreement, ARUC is to meet with an advisory council that includes representation from the community. ARUC continues to manage utility billing and collection services. There is a trained operator. The administrative assistant, who performs many of the day-to-day management tasks, has received training in the past in fulfilling requirements of the Power Cost Equalization (PCE) program. She has also attended the Financial Management for Rural Utilities course sponsored by RUBA.

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.
Yes The utility maintains an inventory control list.
Yes The utility maintains a critical spare parts list.
Operation of Utility Comments
The operator for the water/wastewater utility is Operator in Training (OIT) certified, and has held the position for several years. The utility appears to be operating at a level of service acceptable to the community; however, their system no longer has a storage tank, and depends on a pump to maintain water pressure (24 hours a day). Some residents report occasional low water pressure; there is some concern about the availability of water for fire fighting. The administrator might receive a routine verbal status report from the operator. The administrator stated a current CCR had been completed, but there was no copy available from review. The utility is not on the current SNC list. Operation of the utility would improve greatly if there were monthly written operation and maintenance reports from the operator. Safety will be enhanced with regular safety meetings and the implementation of a safety policy which ARUC will provide.