Quarterly Report: 2010, January - March (Q3), Nelson Lagoon

Community:
Nelson Lagoon 
Staff:
Brice Eningowuk  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Federally Recognized Tribe 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
Native Village of Nelson Lagoon 
Population:
69  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
5/10/2010 
Community Sanitation Overview:
Water is derived from a lake about 10 miles from Nelson Lagoon and is treated. Water storage capacity is 850,000 gallons. All homes are connected to the piped water system. Individual septic systems enable households to have complete plumbing. A new washeteria was completed in August 1999. The water system needs major improvements, including repair of the distribution system, replacement of about 3 miles of distribution line, and a new storage tank. There are no garbage collection services, but a landfill is available. Construction on water intake and a pump house is due to begin in 2010. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
On March 16, 2010, LGS Brice Eningowuk was assigned to Nelson Lagoon, filling the position that serves Nelson Lagoon and the surrounding communities. Anchorage RUBA staff traveled to Nelson Lagoon on March 23 to March 26, 2010 at the request of Paul 'Butch' Gunderson Jr., Nelson Lagoon Tribal Council President. The purpose of the trip was to assist with deficiencies found in the RUBA management assessment conducted October 28, 2009. The majority of the onsite visit focused on drafting a budget for all council activiites and discussing personnel policies and procedures. Draft budgets were created for all Nelson Lagoon Tribal Council, VPSO, Streets and Roads, Harbor, Clinic, Electric Co-Op, and Environmental Programs. The first draft found that the council was operating at a deficit; however, after review by tribal staff and RUBA, a final balanced draft budget was made that can be presented to the council members at a meeting for an official review. On March 31, 2010 at 1320 hrs the tribal council held a meeting and passed a motion to comply with RUBA indicator requirements. Also during the meeting, the draft tribal council policy and procedures was discussed. Once the budget and minutes are verified, RUBA indicators will be changed accordingly to reflect documentation.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff will followup to see if any of the recommendations have been implemented and maintain regular contact with community. RUBA staff will provide technical assistance as requested.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
12 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
8 of 27
Total Score:
20 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.
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.
No A monthly manager's report is prepared.
No Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
Draft budgets were made for all Nelson Lagoon Tribal Council, VPSO, Streets and Roads, Harbor, Clinic, Electric Co-Op, and Environmental Programs. The first draft found that the council was operating at a deficit. During a budget review with Butch Gundersen and Justine Gundersen and with advice from RUBA staff, a draft budget was produced and presented to the council at a meeting on March 31, 2010. At the tribal council meeting, a motion to comply with RUBA indicator requirements was passed unanimously. Also, in the same meeting, the draft tribal council policy and procedures was discussed. Draft policies are in circulation and under review. Once the budget and policies and procedures are adopted and provided to RUBA staff, appropriate changes to the assessment indicators will be made.

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.
No An accounts payable system is in place.
No 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.
No 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.
No 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 tribal council collects payments for water through a pre-paid metering system that was installed for use by the electric utility. There are no account receivables for the water utility since no bills are required to be issued. Customers purchase cards from the utility. The amount of the card is scanned to the customer's meter. The water utility charges a flat $99 per month for water service. Each day the pre-pay meter will deduct $3.30 for water service from the customer's balance. The system rates are set through system software by the utility and the customers' meters are reset whenever there is a change through the scanning of a 'penny' card. The council is seeking funds to upgrade from the penny card to a newer system as the current system cannot allow for an increase in rates. Rate increases are needed to cover operations and managements of the electric utility. There is no formal written purchasing policy. Annual orders and repairs are all authorized and approved by the administrator. The tribal council operates on a calendar fiscal year.

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.
Yes 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
May 6, 2010; a fax from the IRS states that the tribe is in compliance with the Federal Tax filing requirements, Federal Tax deposits, and has no record of Federal Tax liens against the tribe.

Personnel System

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No 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.
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.
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
No documentation of Worker's Compensation Insurance was located, upon research by the Administrator, there was none purchased. Efforts by the Council and the Administrator are working to remedy this issue. No Job descriptions, personal evaluation forms, hiring process, personal employee files to rack progression, I-9's, and probationary period within the Council and employees.

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.
Yes The utility has an adequately trained bookkeeper.
Yes 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.
No The utility complies with the open meeting act for all meetings.
Organizational Management Comments
The Nelson Lagoon Tribal Council is a traditional council. No elections are held for seats on the council. Council members are appointed by the remaining members until they resign or are otherwise unavailable to serve as council members. The Tribal Council meets as needed. Through research, no documented by-laws or constitutions were found. All Tribal Council operations are managed by the administrator who has 30 plus years of experience managing the organization. Bookkeeping is performed by a bookkeeper with a certified public accounting firm based in Anchorage and is available as a backup for the local bookkeeper. The present bookkeeper has held the position for five plus years. The Tribal Council has not adopted utility regulations to give it authority to operate the water utility. Meeting minutes that document activity of the policy making body were not provided. Primary and backup operators are employed by the Tribal Council. The primary operator has held the position for three plus years. The Primary operator's certification expires December 31, 2012. The backup operator's certification expired January 31, 2011. The Administrator reports that the water operator provides her with regular verbal reports. It is not known whether the Tribal Council receives a report on the status of the water system. Training is available, during the March 23-26, 2010 onsite visit, the primary operator was scheduled to attend training. It is uncertain what type of training he may have attended.

Operation of Utility

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility operator(s) are actively working towards necessary certification.
No 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.
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".
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 primary and backup operator are employed by the Village Council. The primary operator has held the position for three plus years. Water Operator is certified in Water Distribution P and expires December 31, 2012. The backup operator's certification in Water Distribution P expires January 31, 2011. The Nelson Lagoon water utility appears on the February 2010 Significant Non-Compliance (SNC) list with a Failure to Conduct monitoring for Stage 1. Last violation 11/09 for Distribution chlorine. Need twelve months of distribution chlorine reporting. Last violation was 11/09. 1 of 12 months towards coming off the list. Should RTC November 2010