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

Community:
Newtok 
Staff:
Sandra Modigh  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Federally Recognized Tribe 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
Newtok Village 
Population:
329  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
8/3/2011 
Community Sanitation Overview:
Newtok, a village of approximately 354 residents, is located on the Ninglick River north of Nelson Island. The Newtok Traditional Council operates the water treatment plant which pulls surface water from a local pond. Water is provided free of charge from a single watering point outside the water treatment plant. From there, water is hauled for domestic use in various sizes of plastic containers. Treated water is stored in the community's only water storage tank which holds 211,000 gallons. The tank, however, does not store enough water to meet the community's needs throughout the year and water runs out mid-winter; residents are forced to cut and melt ice for water for personal use. There are three residential demonstration flush tank and haul units in the community. A VSW engineer had met with the community to discuss installing about ten more units, but the community refused. Since the community does not have a designated area for dumping honey buckets, residents haul and dump their sewage in the Ninglick and the Newtok River. The school has its own well and water treatment plant which is maintained by the Lower Kuskokwim School District (LKSD). The health clinic has two flush/haul tanks and uses water from the community water storage tank. Refuse collection is provided, and a new landfill has been completed, but DOT has determined that it is too close to the airport. The community is planning to relocate and rebuild facilities in Mertarvik located on Nelson Island. A Master Plan is underway. Electricity is provided by Ungusraq Power Co.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
On June 3, 2011, the tribe was sent a request for documents required for RUBA quarterly updates. There has been no response from the tribe regarding this request. Email correspondence with the Alaska Department of Labor dated June 24, 2011, indicated the community is current with its employment security compensation tax payments and deposits. The tribe did not submit a signed IRS Request for Information Form to RUBA staff to verify IRS tax compliance. As of June 28, 2011, the community was not on Significant Non-Complier (SNC) list or the Lien Watch report for this quarter. A June 29, 2011, phone call to Liberty Northwest verified that the tribe's workers compensation coverage is current through June 30, 2012. Bethel RUBA staff traveled to Newtok June 9 for a community meeting. The meeting was a combined effort by VSW, ANTHC, YKHC, and the Newtok Traditional Council to discuss honey bucket safety and disposal options. Both VSW and ANTHC have Indian Health Services (IHS) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded grant funds for community sanitation projects/upgrades and were seeking direction from the council and community members on how the funds should be spent. ANTHC and the Newtok Traditional Council discussed their current project of establishing a honey bucket collection service to help minimize exposure to waste and provide a designated area for honey bucket dumping. The IHS funds, originally allocated in 2001, were placed on hold awaiting the community's relocation from Newtok to Mertarvik (located on Nelson Island). Due to the lengthy planning stages of the relocation, IHS has decided to release the funds so they could be used at the community's current location; however, they must be spent by the end of calendar year 2011. VSW presented four honey bucket disposal alternatives and although there was no official action taken, it was the general consensus to use funds from the IHS/VSW grant and the EPA/ANTHC grant in establishing: 1) a community honey bucket collection service; 2) to allocate $200,000 on water treatment plant upgrades and improvements; and 3) purchasing 5-7 water storage tanks. On June 15, RUBA staff received a phone call from the Newtok IGAP coordinator requesting assistance in drafting a sanitation ordinance. The Newtok Traditional Council is implementing a honey bucket hauling service to begin this summer with the initial start-up and equipment costs provided through grant funding. The grant funds are contingent on the tribe adopting an ordinance setting user rates designed to collect sufficient revenues from customers to cover costs of service. RUBA staff drafted the ordinance as requested and forwarded it to the tribal IGAP coordinator and traditional council for review.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff will continue efforts in requesting documents needed for RUBA compliance and assist the community with essential and sustainable indicators as needed.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
1 of 4
Sustainable Indicators:
1 of 1
Total Score:
2 of 5

Finances

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
N/A All revenues and expenses for the utility are listed in the utility budget.
N/A The utility has adopted a balanced realistic budget.
N/A Monthly financial reports are prepared and submitted to the policy making board.
N/A The utility is current in paying all water/wastewater electric bills.
N/A The utility has on hand a year's adequate fuel supply or it has a financial plan to purchase an adequate supply.
N/A The utility is receiving revenues (user fees or other sources) sufficient to cover operating expenses.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
N/A The utility is receiving revenues (user fees or other sources sufficient to cover operating expenses and Repair & Replacement (R) costs.
N/A YTD revenues are at a level equal to or above those budgeted.
N/A YTD expenditures are at a level equal to or below those budgeted.
N/A A monthly manager's report is prepared.
N/A Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
The tribe has not responded to RUBA staff requests for documents necessary to determine essential and sustainable indicator compliance.

Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
N/A The utility has adopted a collection policy and actively follows it.
N/A The utility bills customers on a regular basis.
N/A An accounts receivable system is in place which tracks customers and reports past due accounts and amounts.
N/A An accounts payable system is in place.
N/A The payroll system correctly calculates payroll and keeps records.
N/A A cash receipt system is in place that records incoming money and how it was spent.
N/A The utility has a cash disbursement system that records how money was spent.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
N/A A chart of accounts is used that identifies categories in a reasonable, usable manner.
N/A Monthly bank reconciliations have been completed for all utility accounts.
N/A 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 has not responded to RUBA staff requests for documents necessary to determine essential and sustainable indicator compliance.

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
Email correspondence with the Alaska Department of Labor dated June 24, 2011, indicated the community is current with its employment security compensation tax payments and deposits. The tribe did not submit a signed IRS Request for Information Form to RUBA staff to verify IRS tax compliance. Hoewver, RUBA staff was able to verify that the community was not on the March - April 2011 Lien Watch Report.

Personnel System

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility has a posted workers compensation insurance policy in effect.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
N/A The utility has adopted and uses a Personnel Policy, which has been reviewed by an attorney, AML or Commerce for topics and language.
N/A The utility has adequate written job descriptions for all positions.
N/A The utility has adopted and follows a written personnel evaluation process that ties the job description to the evaluation.
N/A The utility has an adequate written hiring process.
N/A The utility has personnel folders on every employee that contain at least: I-9, Job Application and Letter of Acceptance.
N/A The utility has a probationary period for new hires that includes orientation, job training/oversight, and evaluations.
N/A The utility provides training opportunities to staff as needed and available.
Personnel System Comments
A June 29, 2011, phone call to Liberty Northwest verified that the tribe's workers compensation coverage is current through June 30, 2012.

Organizational Management

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
N/A The entity that owns the utility is known; the entity that will operate the utility is set.
N/A The policy making body is active in policy making of the utility.
N/A The policy making body enforces utility policy.
N/A The utility has an adequately trained manager.
N/A The utility has an adequately trained bookkeeper.
N/A The utility has an adequately trained operator or operators.
N/A The utility has adopted the necessary ordinances (or rules and regulations) necessary to give it the authority to operate.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
N/A The utility has adopted an organizational chart that reflects the current structure.
N/A The policy making body meets as required.
N/A The utility complies with the open meeting act for all meetings.
Organizational Management Comments
The tribe has not responded to RUBA staff requests for documents necessary to determine essential and sustainable indicator compliance.

Operation of Utility

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
N/A The utility operator(s) are actively working towards necessary certification.
N/A The utility has a preventative maintenance plan developed for the existing sanitation facilities.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
N/A 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.
N/A The utility has a safety manual and holds safety meetings.
N/A Utility facilities have not suffered any major problems/outages due to management issues that are unresolved.
N/A The utility is operating at the level of service that was proposed.
N/A The operator provides status reports to the manager on a routine basis.
N/A The utility has completed and distributed its "Consumer Confidence Report".
Yes The utility is not on the "Significant Non-Complier" (SNC) list.
N/A The utility maintains an inventory control list.
N/A The utility maintains a critical spare parts list.
Operation of Utility Comments
AAs of June 28, 2011, the community was not on Significant Non-Complier (SNC) list or the Lien Watch report for this quarter.