Quarterly Report: 2008, April - June (Q4), Twin Hills

Twin Hills 
Ralph Andrew  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Federally Recognized Tribe 
Agreement Date:
Twin Hills Village 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
Piped water and sewer systems were installed in Twin Hills in 1977. Water is drawn using a submersible pump, is treated and stored in a 60,000-gal. steel tank. The gravity sewage system feeds to a disposal lagoon on the far west side of town. Approximately 22 households have piped services and complete plumbing. As of 2003 there are 7 new HUD housing units with individual wells and septic tanks. The school operates its own system. A coin-operated washeteria is available. Water, sewer and landfill improvements are currently being studied.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
RUBA traveled to Twin Hills April 16, 2008 at the request of the village council to conduct a RUBA Assessment of Management Indicators which is a sanitation grant condition. The council anticipates the assessment in relation to grant funding the community plans to apply for with assistance from the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC). RUBA essential indicators related to budgeting and monthly financial reporting remain deficient. RUBA continues to provide written recommendations and can provide assistance upon request. Of note, Jennifer John, ANTHC utility business support specialist traveled with RUBA during the April 16 trip to meet community leaders, provided coordinated assistance with RUBA, and continues to offer assistance upon request from the village council. The water operator, who also serves as a village council member, participated in a RUBA Planning training event in Dillingham in mid-May. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA continues to offer and provide assistance to the village council and will maintain contact with ANTHC staff including the Dillingham-based project engineer and utility business support specialist.
Essential Indicators:
23 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
20 of 27
Total Score:
43 of 53


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.
Yes 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.
Yes Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
The council adopted an entity-wide spending plan but has not adopted a water/sewer budget to date. Staff provides the council with a detailed monthly financial report using QuickBooks accounting software but the current report format does not present year-to-date comparison to budgeted figures. RUBA provided staff a sample water/sewer budget spreadsheet and sample monthly financial report spreadsheet. Utility collections are reportedly lower than average at this time. The council subsidizes the utility with general funds when user fees do not cover operating expenses. To cut costs, the council reduced the water operator's working hours in recent months. The council recently ordered roughly $170,000 worth of heating and diesel fuel, paid a portion up front, and plans installment payments. The council purchases fuel from the school when supplies run short. Residents purchase gasoline and other fuels from Togiak, a nearby community.

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.
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 adopted a water/sewer ordinance during the quarter that includes a collection policy. Staff bills regularly, tracks customer balances, and keeps individual customer ledgers effectively. Staff uses QuickBooks for accounting including payroll processing. Billing for electricity and water/sewer utility services are combined on one statement. The council bills customers and enforces collections policy. Staff is presently working with customers to develop payment plans for past due utility debt. The council raised the residential water/sewer rate in fall 2007 from $37.50 to $50.00.

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.
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
Staff maintain an effective and accurate payroll processing system based on QuickBooks accounting software. According to the Internal Revenue Service Taxpayer Advocate Service on June 30, 2008 the village council is presently compliant with federal tax obligations.

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
The village council's Employer's Notice of Insurance, purchased through Alaska National Insurance Company indicates a coverage period of 10/1/2007 to 10/1/2008. RUBA viewed a personnel and office procedures manual developed for the council with assistance from a paid consultant in 2007. The manual is well written but does not include a safety policy. RUBA provided a sample safety policy.

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.
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 council adopted a utility operating policy and guidelines in the form of a water/sewer ordinance June 5, 2008. Staff are experienced and trained. The acting village administrator expressed interest in QuickBooks accounting training. The acting administrator is also responsible for PCE reporting for the electric utility. RUBA recommends the council continue to invite public participation in discussions related to public utilities.

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.
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.
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.
Operation of Utility Comments
The water operator possesses certification for Water Treatment OIT, Wastewater Collection OIT, and Wastewater Treatment OIT according to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation operator database. Utility staff discusses safety matters periodically and covers the topic of safety with staff from the Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation including the Remote Maintenance Worker (RMW) but can benefit from regular safety meetings. The water operator presently serves as an elected village council member and is presently serving as the primary electric utility operator. Staff recently updated an existing preventative maintenance plan. The council submitted its Consumer Confidence Report for 2006 timely.