Quarterly Report: 2010, October - December (Q2), Chistochina

Julie Dirks  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Federally Recognized Tribe 
Agreement Date:
Cheesh-Na Tribe 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
Almost half of residences have individual wells; the remainder haul treated water from the Community Center. Some residents use individual septic tanks, but the majority have outhouses or pit privies. About 40% of homes are completely plumbed. The local landfill is closed pending clean-up and relocation to a new site. The community needs a washeteria and a new landfill. Electricity is provided out of Tok. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
A request was sent to Elaine Sinyon to find out if any progress had been made on adopting a utility ordinance or preventative maintenance plan. A response was received from a temporary administrator. Elaine is on long-term leave for personal reasons. The administrator was not familiar with the RUBA program or the RUBA assessment. A copy of the assessment, sample utility ordinances, a business plan template, and a IRS authorization to release information form was resent to the interim administrator of the Cheesh'na Tribal Council. The administrator reports that the tribal council has decided that the proposed facility is too large and too expensive to operate. The tribe will be planning for a smaller, less expensive facility and will delay adopting a utility ordinance and business plan until they have a better idea what the project will be. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff will follow up on development of a utility ordinance, utility budget, and preventative maintenance plan. Assistance will be provided by phone, fax, and email as requested.
Essential Indicators:
21 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
13 of 27
Total Score:
34 of 54


Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes All revenues and expenses for the utility are listed in the utility budget.
Yes The utility has adopted a balanced realistic budget.
Yes 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.
Yes 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
The Cheesh'na Tribal Council has never operated or managed a utility. The majority of utility services are obtained from providers in Tok or Glennallen. Fuel is delivered on an as needed basis by Crowley or Fisher Fuel in Glennallen. There is no utility budget available to assess; however, the tribal council does adopt and maintain budgets for other operations including BIA Compacting funds, VBC lease funds for clinic, EPA IGAP, Summer Youth, community revenue sharing, capital improvement funds, and others. The fiscal year runs October through September each year. The tribe has adopted an operating budget totaling $1,186,718.

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.
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
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 Cheesh'na Tribal Council has not previously operated a utility. Policies and procedures will need to be adopted for the utility. The tribe uses MacIntosh computers. Accounting has been done with Multi-Ledger by Check Mark software since 1990. Multi-Ledger is a full-feature software package with general ledger, accounts receivable, accounts payable, inventory, payroll, and job costing capabilities. The tribal administrator reports she is not interested in changing software. The chart of accounts provided includes accounts for tracking cash, accounts receivable, fixed assets, payables, payroll taxes, accrued leave, loans, fund balances, revenue for each source of funds, salary expense, payroll taxes expense, advertising, supplies, contractual equipment, insurance, travel and utilities. Each different activity is assigned its own account number. The chart of accounts appears organized with revenue and expenses having a sub-category by function to allow for data selection. The only invoices issued are for office space rental by the Mt. Sanford Tribal Consortium in Gakona. Reconciliations are done monthly for bank accounts. The Cheesh'na Tribal Council uses a check request system. The administrator has authority to authorize purchases up to $5000. Any purchase over $5000 requires tribal council approval

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.
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 IRS reports that first quarter 2009 form 941 has not been filed. A copy of the report was provided by Cheesh'na staff but has not been received by the IRS. IRS 941 reports for quarters ending 6/08, 9/08, 12/08 and 3/09 indicate that all payroll tax deposits were made prior to reports being filed and no taxes were due with the report submission. The Alaska Department of Labor reported that as of September 24, 2009 the tribe was current with ESC quarterly reports and had a small credit balance.

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.
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
Workers compensation coverage is with Alaska National Insurance Company; coverage was renewed 10/1/09. The Cheesh'na Tribal Council exercises Indian Preference under US PL 93-638, Section 7(b) (25 USCA 450 (e) which gives preference for training and employment to members of the tribe before considering any other candidate. Jobs are advertised within the village for five working days prior to being advertised outside the community. Employees receive insurance benefits, accrue annual leave, and are entitled to 12 paid holidays each year. Sick leave is accrued at a rate of eight hours each month for full-time employees. Sick leave for part-time employees is pro-rated. The tribe has adopted a modified management by objectives approach to personnel evaluation. Employees are given an opportunity within the first three months of employment to develop written employment goals consistent with the tribe's and department objectives. A performance review will be done near the end of the second three months (or six months after start of employment). Thereafter, employee performance reviews will be conducted annually.

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.
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 Cheesh'na Tribal Council is the only form of local government within the community. The tribal council meets quarterly as required by the tribal constitution and more often as the need arises. Council meetings are advertised and the public is welcome to attend. Provisions are included on every agenda for hearing public comments. The administrator is supervised by the Council President and has been employed by the Cheesh'na Tribal Council since 1992. The administrator is responsible for managing all day-to-day operations of the council. A part-time bookkeeper has been employed since 2001. A contract accountant visits Chistochina periodically to provide oversight to the bookkeeper and to make closing entries. The Cheesh'na Tribal Council has not adopted a utility ordinance as yet but has adopted and enforces other policies such as personnel and follows the requirements of their tribal constitution.

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
No 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.
No 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.
No 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
In recent years, five individuals in Chistochina have received Small Water Systems Provisional Level I training and certification. Since there is no sanitation utility in place, no preventative maintenance plan has been adopted.