Quarterly Report: 2006, April - June (Q4), Platinum

Ralph Andrew  
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 private homes reportedly have individual water wells, septic systems and plumbing. During the summer, untreated water is hauled from approximately twenty watering points. During winter, residents dig holes in the ice to draw water. Homes without water and sewer service utilize honey buckets which are disposed of in seepage pits or the slough. A washeteria was constructed but is not in use. A DEC/VSW 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. A Village Safe Water project to renovate the water/sewer system is moving foward and construction will start as early as summer 2007. The City operates the electric utility and landfill. Community fuel storage capacity is as follows: Arviq Inc. (67,100 gals.); City Power Plant (5,600); Lower Kuskokwim Schools (7,000). 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
The Platinum village council approved a RUBA water/sewer utility work plan after review by a VSW engineer and the BBAHC Remote Maintenance Worker. The council also established a RUBA Agreement with DCA and in doing so seeks to facilitate progress on utility management including resolution of deficient RUBA Assessment management indicators. Although water/sewer project construction is not scheduled to start till next year, the tribal administrator and RUBA agreed that an aggressive resolution timeframe of Assessment deficiencies was preferable. During the quarter, the tribal administrator consistently brought water/sewer planning matters forward to the village council. The administrator distributed to the council and public a draft water/sewer ordinance, draft budget, and draft rate sheet, all developed with assistance from RUBA. At RUBA's suggestion, the tribal administrator facilitated a water/sewer public hearing to invite public input. RUBA participated in the public hearing via teleconference. Although the hearing was sparsely attended, it offered an opportunity for the administrator to present an overview of the draft ordinance, budget, and rates for the existing water/sewer system. The second public hearing is set for July 11, 2006. RUBA encouraged the tribal administrator to maintain contact with the city and mayor in particular, who expressed concern about the tribe's capacity to effectively manage the water/sewer system and the future utility's capacity in relation to a proposed fish plant to be funded by the regional CDQ entity. It is conceivable new infrastructure like a fish plant will increase demand on future infrastructure including the tribally-managed water/sewer system. The administrator is in contact with the VSW engineer to discuss funding and utility design options. The utility remains listed on ADEC's Significant Noncompliance List (SNC) for SWTR-related violations which can be resolved upon project completion. Concerning city affairs, RUBA provided general assistance to the mayor and city staff on topics including local government, electric utility financial management, planning, grants, and general government matters. Based on a June 8, 2006 report from DCA, the City of Platinum has not accessed all of their available SMEAP energy funds from the state. A balance of $1,497.47 remains. RUBA urged action before funds expire at the end of June. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA will maintain contact with the village council as they progress toward improved community sanitation.
Essential Indicators:
16 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
20 of 27
Total Score:
36 of 54


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.
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.
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 village council presented a draft water/sewer budget to the public late in the quarter along with draft rates and a draft oridnance developed with assistance from RUBA. The administrator also serves as the water operator and provides reports to the council. Fuel supplies are reportedly sufficient through fall. User fees are reportedly not being collected and the system continues to be fully subsidized by the village council. The council is expected to begin enforcement upon adoption of the ordinance next quarter.

Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No The utility has adopted a collection policy and actively follows it.
No The utility bills customers on a regular basis.
No 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.
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
The village council presented a draft water/sewer ordinance including a collections policy at a public hearing late in the quarter. The utility does not bill customers regularly although this is expected to change upon adoption of the ordinance. The utility is presently working to improve its accounts receivable system and accounts payable system. The payroll system is satisfactory and according to the IRS at the beginning of the calendar year, the village council is compliant with federal tax requirements. Tribal staff are preparing to implement computerized accounting software. Staff reconcile bank accounts and utilize a procurement process 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.
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
The village council's federal tax requirements are met according to the January 4, 2006 IRS correspondence. Staff maintain compliance is ongoing. RUBA will request an updated compliance report from the IRS next quarter.

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 coverage is in effect through March 25, 2007. The council and staff utilize a well-written, comprehensive personnel policy. Staff made improvements to personnel recordkeeping and now include I9 forms in each personnel folder.

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.
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
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 village council assumed management of the water utility from the City of Platinum near 2003 and is presently working toward adoption of a water/sewer ordinance, collections policy, and rate structure. Utility fees for water/sewer services are not presently collected however the council is expected to enforce collections upon adoption of the ordinance. An experienced tribal administrator serves as the utility manager and water operator. The village council also employs a trained bookkeeper. The council meets regularly and RUBA continues to encourage public input into water/sewer project discussions.

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.
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".
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
The water operator plans to seek further training and RUBA recommends a backup operator receive training. The utility does not have a preventative maintenance plan in place although the administrator has been in contact with the VSW engineer and met with the Remote Maintenance Worker during the quarter. The utility can benefit from a maintenance plan that includes routine tasks critical for the safe and sustainable operation of the utility. The utility is still listed on the Significant Non-Complier (SNC) list. The system's design prohibits compliance with certain ADEC requirements. The operator is actively working toward achievable compliance with ADEC and VSW. The utility completed its 2005 Consumer Confidence Report.