Quarterly Report: 2012, July - September (Q1), Platinum

Barbara Higgins  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Federally Recognized Tribe 
Agreement Date:
Platinum Traditional Village 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
Nine households and the public school are connected to a piped water system and operate private septic sewage systems. The remaining households, roughly eight, access water from public watering points and dispose of honeybucket waste in private seepage pits. The public water system distributes untreated water. A washeteria constructed in recent years is not in use. A state Village Safe Water Water/Sewer and Solid Waste Feasibility Study was funded in FY 2003 to assess water, sewer and solid waste needs including a water storage tank, new water treatment plant, connections and plumbing, sludge disposal site, and landfill. The water/sewer system renovation project, with assistance from Village Safe Water, is in design and construction was to start summer 2009 but is currently on hold. The City operates the electric utility and landfill. Community fuel storage capacity is as follows: Arviq village corporation. (67,100 gals.); City Power Plant (5,600); Lower Kuskokwim Schools (7,000). 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
RUBA staff traveled to Platinum with the QuickBooks Contractor on July 11- 13 to provide assistance and training to the Traditional Council with installation of their new computers and QuickBooks software. The RUBA QuickBooks contractor set up the files, then transferred the information from the old computer to the new computer. One on one training was provided to the administrator on deposits, payroll, Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) payments and billing. On September 19, LGS staff traveled to the City of Platinum to provide assistance with the FY12 budget, FY10 Certified Financial Statement, elections, the fall fuel delivery and general restructuring of the city office. The city has gone through a change at the council level, which has opened positions in the city office. One person held all the city's staff positions. This was an ineffective way to manage the city and as a result many of the day to day functions went undone and there was a lack of transparency in the city. LGS staff worked with new staff, the financial officer, to recreate FY10 and FY11 financial records and implement a plan for financial accountability. The work completed onsite is beginning to get the city back on track and functioning according to Title 29 and the city's municipal code. LGS staff will remain available to the financial officer and council to assist in the city's long term sustainability. The tribal council has provided the city with financial assistance to install a newly purchased fuel tank. This is a step in the community pulling together in the best interest of the residents.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Based on this assessment, a work plan and budget are being developed to deal with the problems. The work plan will be an effort to bring the community up to an acceptable management performance standard. Continued RUBA assistance to this community depends on the community meeting a baseline level of progress towards improvement. The Council needs to sign a RUBA Agreement that outlines the services this division will provide that stipulates the actions the traditional council must take and continue to provide in order to receive the continued RUBA assistance.
Essential Indicators:
16 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
17 of 25
Total Score:
33 of 51


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.
Yes 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.
Yes A monthly manager's report is prepared.
No Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
The traditional council has not responded to the quarterly reporting requirements this quarter. 09/30/11. The village council adopted the CY11 budget on February 2, 2011. A copy of the approved budget was submitted to the Dillingham Regional Office. The budget only shows expenses not income from the customers billed. It does not represent a balanced or realistic budget. Monthly financial reports comparing actual YTD revenues and expenses are not included in the agenda packets for monthly regular meetings and are not being prepared at this time due to lack of trained accounting staff. RUBA has not been able to verify that the utility is current with the electric bills. Heating oil for the utility is delivered by barge two times per year. The utility uses a minimal amount of fuel. The utility budget includes $284.00 for heating oil. Financial reports are not available for the quarter ending September 2011. The utility does not have a line item for Repair and Replacement expenses in the budget. The meeting minutes and agenda indicate that the administrator provides a verbal report every month and the minutes reflect what was reported.

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.
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.
Yes The utility has a cash disbursement system that records how money was spent.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
No 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
The utility billing and collection procedures are included in the utility ordinance, adopted on July 21, 2006. RUBA staff has a copy of the approved ordinance on file. The accounts receivable reports indicate that there are five accounts that are more than 90 days past due. The traditional council has a hard time shutting off water due to no curb stops and watering points throughout the community. A random review of account receivable files indicated that the utility bills are issued within the first week of each month, as required by the utility's billing procedures. Staff uses QuickBooks 2007 for bookkeeping. Invoices and payment for each customer are entered into the accounts receivable program. The utility bookkeeper uses QuickBooks 2007 for financial recordkeeping. The utility bookkeeper uses a manual payroll ledger to track wage and tax information. The bookkeeper is not proficient in the use of QuickBooks. The utility clerk writes a receipt for any income received. A copy of every receipt is kept in a permanent receipt book. At the end of the month, new data from the receipt book is entered into the utility's computerized accounting system. All payments are made by check. Every check includes an amount, an expense account and a description of the payment. A copy of each paid invoice is kept in the vendor files. The utility's chart of accounts identifies all asset account (un-deposited funds, bank accounts, and accounts receivable), all liability accounts (current, long-term and payroll liabilities), and fund balances. Income and expense accounts are identified in a manner that matches the income and expenses line items in the budget. Bank reconciliations have not been done since the last quarter of 2009. The utility does not require purchase orders for proposed purchases, however requires authorization of the council on any expenditures per the constitution and bylaws of the traditional council.

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.
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
The utility did not provide the signed application to request federal tax information to determine if the utility is compliant with IRS tax reports and deposits. The Department of Labor reports on September 29, 2011, that the tradational council is not deemed compliant. The council is not listed on teh Lien Watch report dated September 2011.

Personnel System

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No 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.
No 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
The Notice of Insurance was posted in plain view in the village office. According to the Notice of Insurance, worker's compensation insurance is provided by the Alaska National Insurance Company from 03/25/10 through 03/25/11. A 09/28/11 check of the Division of Worker's Comp website did not confirm that the policy was in effect. A copy of the traditional councils personnel policies, adopted August 1995, is on file with RUBA staff. Job descriptions are up to date and expressly outline each employee's required duties. RUBA staff has copies of the job descriptions on file. The traditional council does have a written evaluation process. The hiring process is described in the utility's personnel policies adopted August 1995, A copy of the policy is on file with RUBA staff. Personnel folders are not current or available for all employees. The probationary period or introductory period for new hires is at least ninety (90) days, as described in the personnel policy. New hires are evaluated at the end of the probationary period. The utility budget includes an appropriation of $1,570.00 for staff training.

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.
No The utility has an adequately trained manager.
No 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
The utility ordinance identifies the village as the owner and operator of the utility. Council meeting minutes confirmed that the council reviews policies and rates on an annual basis and makes changes as needed. Meeting minutes for the past quarter confirms that the traditional council takes an active role in enforcing utility policy. The administrator develops and oversees the utility budget, is also the utility operator and utility clerk, and provides monthly reports to the governing body. The administrator has over ten years experience on the job. She is maintains all of the accounting systems to the best of her abilities. The utility is a Small Water System/Treated. According to the ADEC website, the utility operators have the required level of training and certification for this system. The village council adopted a utility ordinance in August 2007. RUBA staff has a copy of the signed ordinance on file. The village council has an organizational chart that is updated as needed. The copy of the organizational chart is on file. Regular council meetings are held once a month; special meeting are held as needed. All meetings for the current quarter have been held as scheduled. The meeting files and minutes confirm that agendas are posted and that meetings are open to the public as required by 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
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.
No 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.
N/A The utility maintains an inventory control list.
N/A The utility maintains a critical spare parts list.
Operation of Utility Comments
According to the ADEC website, the facility is a Small Water System that is untreated. The primary operator has a Small Untreated- certification that expires December 31, 2012 but does not have the required number of CEU's to maintain certification. There is a backup operator that does not have the required certification or number of required CEU's. The utility states they have a preventative maintenance plan that was developed by the Remote Maintenance Worker. A copy of this was viewed by RUBA. The operator reports using a checklist to verify that preventive maintenance is performed. The administrator checks the utility on a routine basis. The utility has a safety manual on file. RUBA staff has a copy of the 2009 CCR on file. According to the utility clerk, the CCR was mailed to all residents in June of 2010. The utility does not have an inventory control list. The utility does not have a critical spare parts list on file. To prevent unnecessary outages, critical spare parts are reported and were observed by RUBA staff and are kept in stock at the utility.