RUBA Community Status Report

Community Name: Lime Village


Community:

Lime Village

RUBA:

Yes

Staff:

Robin Eleazer

Agreement:

No

DCA Region:

Anchorage

Agreement Date:

Region:

Interior

Exp Date:

Govt Type(s):

Tribal Council

Borough:

Unorganized

Assessment Date:

8/3/2012

Population:

29

Active Community:

Yes

Date Updated:

9/26/2013


Community Sanitation Overview:

Lime Village is located on the Stony River, 50 miles southeast of its junction with the Kuskokwim River. The village is 111 air miles south of McGrath, 137 air miles east of Aniak, and 185 air miles west of Anchorage. Lime Village is a Dena'ina Athabascan settlement practicing a subsistence lifestyle. Water is drawn from a community well, which supplies the washeteria. The washeteria facility provides drinking water, restroom, shower, and laundry facilities. There is no piped water service to homes in the community. The school and teacher housing were built with individual septic systems, but the school is no longer operational as the community's school aged population dropped below the minimum required. Other homes and buildings in the village are not fully plumbed and rely on pit privies. The washeteria is managed by the Lime Village Traditional Council.

RUBA Status
and Activities
this Quarter:

RUBA staff received a signed authorization to request tax information on September 4. In August, the Lime Village administrator informed RUBA staff that she is no longer employed by the Tribe.

 

Capacity Indicator: Finances

Essential Indicators:

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:

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.

Comment:

The Lime Village Traditional Council is the governing body of the utility. Residents are charged for tokens to use the washeteria laundry and shower facilities, the community subsidizes washeteria costs with monies from annual grants funding, particularly BIA funds. BIA grant monies contribute to village personnel expenses for the full-time tribal administrator, full-time public works/water operator, part-time janitor, part-time electrical utility operators, and occasional maintenance personnel - all of whom are involved in caring for city utilities. Lime Village does have a repair and maintenance account established for its water utility, also subsidized through grant funding; this has been sufficient to cover repairs and parts replacement.

 

Capacity Indicator: Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators:

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:

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.

Comment:

Lime Village uses QuickBooks for all its accounting - tribal grants, the electric utility, the water utility, and payroll. The tribal administrator attended RUBA QuickBooks training in late 2011, and is a regular user of the DCRA QuickBooks hotline for telephonic support. The payroll system is set up accurately, correctly calculating payroll taxes. Monthly statements of expenses are produced and balanced; the tribal administrator reconciles bank statements each month. Development of a consolidated CY13 budget document will allow this information to be entered, enabling the administrator to print out monthly reports which compare actual income and expenses to budgeted amounts. Oversight and controls for purchases are developed. Decision making related to disbursement in excess of anticipated amounts is brought to the Traditional Council for consideration.

 

Capacity Indicator: Tax Problems

Essential Indicators:

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.

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.

Comment:

A signed Authorization to Request Federal Tax Information returned from the IRS on September 10 indicating the Lime Village Council has not yet filed its 941 for the 03 and 06 quarters. The tribe is compliant with federal tax filing, deposits and has no record of a lien. The State Department of Labor gave tax clearance through June 30,2013. Even if the Lime Village Traditional Council does not have any employees, the IRS is expecting quarterly tax return filings, and will penalize the Council for late returns.

 

Capacity Indicator: Personnel System

Essential Indicators:

No

The utility has a posted workers compensation insurance policy in effect.

Sustainable Indicators:

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.

Yes

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.

Comment:

The community does not have a personnel policy or an employee handbook. The creation of a comprehensive personnel policy will be one of the priorities on the RUBA agreement and work plan with the community. Job descriptions are available for all positions, but need updating. In the past, the role of bookkeeper was a distinct job; the tribal administrator has taken over bookkeeping duties in the absence of available personnel for this position. Individual personnel folders contain all required information, including I-9s, job applications, and personnel actions. There is not an active, scheduled practice of regular employee evaluation and feedback. RUBA staff encouraged the development of once yearly formal employee evaluation to include both written and verbal feedback. Money has been budgeted for costs of employee travel to trainings, as well as council member attendance at state-wide conferences. The community places a high priority in offering ongoing support for its employees to attend training opportunities.

 

Capacity Indicator: Organizational Management

Essential Indicators:

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.

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:

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.

Comment:

The Lime Village Traditional Council is adequately involved in discussion and shared decision making related to utility management. The council has not yet enforced collections procedures; the electric utility has only recently come under the management of the council. The public works manager and the tribal administrator collaborate to serve as utilities managers, with regular input from the maintenance crew. The tribal administrator, public works manager, and council members appear to maintain ample communication and positive relationships. The tribal administrator and public works manager both transmit utility information and issues to the council. In a community comprised of 29 residents, roles regularly cross over, with tribal staff often also sitting on council. As a Traditional Council, meetings where only tribal business is discussed are not subject to the Open Meetings Act. However, any council meeting with discussion regarding projects accessing state funds (Community Revenue Sharing, the Washeteria, etc.) is required to be open to the public and posted with reasonable notice. Currently, council meetings are not posted, although the tribal administrator notes that they are typically open to the public.

 

Capacity Indicator: Operation of Utility

Essential Indicators:

No

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:

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.

Yes

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.

Comment:

The utility does not hold designated or documented safety meetings. Utility workers report informal discussions of safety issues; RUBA staff encouraged them to formalize and record these meetings. There have been no major outages of the utility due to managerial errors. The water operator was not able to provide RUBA staff with an inventory control list or a critical spare parts list. Both the water operator and the tribal administrator agree this is a wise idea; the remote location of this community makes it very difficult to obtain spare parts in a timely manner. The CY13 budget includes funding for critical spare parts to be kept on hand; the water operator will undertake the project of completing an inventory of materials and parts, as well as a prioritized list of critical spare parts. Lime Village does not filter or chemically treat its water. As a small, untreated water utility, certification for the water operator and a Consumer Confidence Report are not required. The community does voluntarily send out yearly water samples, to confirm that there are no contaminants. The water utility is not listed on the October 2012 Significant Non-Compiler List.

RUBA Activities for the Coming Quarter:

The long-time administrator informed RUBA staff that she is no longer employed by the Traditional Council. The IRS reported Lime Village is not current on filing its quarterly returns. RUBA staff will work with the Traditional Council President to ensure that these filings are submitted to the IRS in a timely fashion.