Quarterly Report: 2009, July - September (Q1), Lime Village

Lime Village 
Tammy Helms  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Federally Recognized Tribe 
Agreement Date:
Lime Village 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
The school and teacher's housing, as well as a new washeteria are connected to a new community well. The washeteria facility provides drinking water from the well as well as restroom, shower, and laundry facilities. While water is piped to the school, there is no piped water service to homes in the community. The school and teacher's housing have individual septic systems, but the other 22 homes in the village are not fully plumbed, and rely on pit privies for sewage disposal. The washeteria is managed by the Lime Village Traditional Council. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
RUBA staff traveled to Lime Village March 9, 2006 to conduct a RUBA assessment. The assessment found that the washeteria was not being managed as a separate enterprise, but was included as part of the tribal operations. It appeared likely that the enterprise was being heavily subsidized from other funds received by the Village Council, but without a budget and separate accounting of washeteria revenues and expenses it was difficult to clarify to what extent that was the case. The community did not meet all RUBA essential management capacity indicators, as documented below. Despite written and verbal offers for assistance, there have been no requests or contact with the community, therefore the following comments have remained unchanged.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff is prepared to assist the community with local government or utility management issues, at their request.
Essential Indicators:
9 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
8 of 27
Total Score:
17 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.
No A monthly manager's report is prepared.
No Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
A complete and realistic budget for the utility does not exist, nor are budgets and budget amendments regularly adopted by the council. A draft budget was created as part of the business plan. Based on the first four months of operation, this budget is not realistic. It should be compared to actual revenue and expense data, modified where necessary, and adopted by the village council. Currently, expenses for all tribal operations, including the washeteria, are estimated and submitted to the BIA for funding. Throughout the year additional requests including justification are sometimes made, which may or may not be granted. Monthly financial reports showing month and year-to-date expenses and revenues are not prepared, and without reference to a budget, they would be of limited value. Raven Technology Services in McGrath manages the village owned electric system, and reports the village council is always current with electrical billing. While the administrator seemed confident that they have enough fuel on hand, or funds to acquire it, it is unclear if sufficient revenues are being received to cover all operating expenses past the short term. The hourly wage reported is higher than that shown in the expenses requested of BIA, and fuel costs are much higher. In discussing several bank accounts used by village council staff, none are dedicated to R/R or Capital Replacement. While it is unknown if funds for these purposes are being accounted for within one of these accounts, it seems unlikely that sufficient funds are available for R/R account funding.

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
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.
No 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
There have been no written utility rules or policies adopted by the council, including a collection policy. The public services provided by the utility are set up to operate on a pay as you go basis utilizing tokens, which currently cost $3.00 each. As a result, those services require no regular billing, nor are there past due amounts to track. The utility supplies water to the school and the business plan identifies the school water service as a source of operating revenue, however the business manager for the school district reports that they have not been billed, nor have they paid for water service. The school should be considered a customer and billed regularly by the utility. An accounts receivable system to track payments and a collection policy for the billing clerk and the customer to follow should also be adopted. There is no accounts payable system that tracks outstanding bills or account balances. Council staff report that bills are paid by check as they arrive in the mail. Payroll, withholding, and payroll expense are computed by hand using preprinted forms and tables. A carbon copy receipt book records incoming cash and what it was for, however these revenues are not accounted for and reported in financial reports. A cash disbursement system exists in the form of a ledger which records check number and date, to whom paid, and which of several revenue sources is being charged, as well as the balance. A chart of accounts that categorizes revenues and expenditures is not utilized, nor is there a purchasing system that compares proposed purchases to budgeted amounts and documents the approval and purchase. There is, however, an unwritten policy that all expenditures are forwarded to the administrator who obtains approval from the council president before the purchase is made. Bank account reconciliations are reportedly performed monthly, however council staff was unable to provide documentation.

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.
No The utility is current on making tax deposits.
No 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 manually calculates and tracks payroll taxes, and at the time of the assessment village staff reported that they were current with reporting and deposit requirements. While verifying this information, the IRS indicated that forms 941 for the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2005 had not been filed. Copies of forms 941 supplied by village staff for this assessment did not include the 3rd quarter, but did include one that appeared to be for the 4th quarter. (was dated February 22, 2006) While it may be that the 4th quarter report had not yet been received at the time of the inquiry, the status of the 3rd quarter report is unknown. AK Dept. of Labor reports that they have not received the 4th quarter 05 ESC report.

Personnel System

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No The utility has a posted workers compensation insurance policy in effect.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
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.
No 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.
Personnel System Comments
Council staff reported that currently there is no worker's compensation insurance in place for village employees. Job descriptions for each position have been written, however there are no written personnel policies, nor are performance evaluations, or probationary periods utilized. Copies of past years W-2 forms for all employees are kept in a single folder and reportedly I-9's are kept together in a similar folder, but individual folders for employee's paperwork are not used. There is no written process for hiring employees, however the administrator reports that an unwritten policy requires job opportunities to be posted using the written job descriptions for at least a week, longer if necessary, and that the council reviews and chooses an applicant.

Organizational Management

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The entity that owns the utility is known; the entity that will operate the utility is set.
No The policy making body is active in policy making of the utility.
No 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.
No The utility has adopted the necessary ordinances (or rules and regulations) necessary to give it the authority to operate.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
No 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 Lime Village Traditional Council is recognized as the entity that operates the utility and sets utility policy. As a policy making body, however, the council has not adopted any written policies, rules, or regulations which give it authority to operate and provide clear, written direction for its customers and staff. Council staff reports that the council meets about four times per year or more if necessary to settle issues that arise and they resolve issues effectively. The utility manager and bookkeeper are to be commended for their commitment to provide basic management and bookkeeping service for the utility, however, not all essential accounting and managerial functions are employed. Their demonstrated capacity and interest show that training appropriate to their positions would enable them to implement many of the essential accounting and managerial elements now found to be lacking. An organizational chart has not been adopted by the council, although there is one included in the business plan for the washeteria. Council staff reports that the council meets as needed, and that all meetings are posted and open to the public, although they were unfamiliar with the open meeting act. A meeting agenda included with the posting would improve public awareness and encourage participation.

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.
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 utility operator has been trained as a level 1 Water Treatment Operator, however his certification is no longer current. He reports that efforts are being made to provide him with the necessary training to renew his certification. The utility currently has no preventative maintenance plan, nor a safety plan or critical spare parts list. Often this information is included in the operations manual for the facility, which has yet to be provided to the operator by the contractor. The administrator and utility operator both felt that the utility is operating at the level of service that is expected by community members. There reportedly are no written monthly operator reports, although the operator at times provides to the administrator written documentation of fuel consumed and gives verbal updates regarding the status of the washeterias various components and systems. The high price of flying fuel into the community and the excessive amount of handling to get it to the washeteria are their biggest concerns. Diesel currently costs $5.53 and gasoline is $5.60. The community is not on the SNC list, and according to Doug Zelmer of DEC, the utility will not be required to complete and distribute a CCR until July 1, 2007.