Quarterly Report: 2014, October - December (Q2), Crooked Creek

Community:
Crooked Creek 
Staff:
Roberta Eleazer  
DCRA Regional Office:
Anchorage 
Gov't Type:
Federally Recognized Tribe 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
Village of Crooked Creek 
Population:
105 (2012 Alaska Department of Labor Estimate) 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Completed 
Assessment Date:
6/27/2011 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
12/26/2013 
Community Sanitation Overview:
Most homes lack plumbing; residents haul water and honeybuckets. A new well provides treated water, and a new washeteria has been completed. The school, store, and three homes have individual wells, wastewater tanks and plumbing. The school wastewater drain field is failing. The community needs a new water tank and landfill with access road. Electricity is provided by Middle Kuskokwim Electric Cooperative. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Anchorage RUBA staff made numerous contacts during the quarter with Traditional Council President, Evelyn Thomas and bookkeepter Bedusha Thomas about ongoing IRS tax liabilities. RUBA staff also offered to conduct an updated RUBA assessment and to invite a member of the council to attend RUBA trainings. Fourth quarter Authorization to Request Federal Tax Information for Crooked Creek showed substantial past-due taxes and civil penalties. Ms. Thomas stated that in May of 2011 an ice jam caused river levels to jump 30 feet. At least 24 houses were destroyed, under water or floated off their foundations. Ms. Thomas stated that the tribal council received grants to replace services and housing and were advised to apply for a second EIN number. Since that time, they have experienced tax problems. The bookkeeper stated that they file the 941 and EFTPS online every two weeks and have been paying taxes. Anchorage RUBA staff contacted Judy Pearson, Indian Tribal Governments Specialist, who supplied detailed information on the EIN number and stated she would be happy to meet with Ms. Thomas and RUBA staff to discuss the taxes and fees. When contacted Ms. Thomas declined a meeting.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff will continue to provide services to the Crooked Creek Council when requested.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
9 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
15 of 27
Total Score:
24 of 53

Finances

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.
No 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
Anchorage RUBA staff requesed but did not received any budget reports for this year.

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.
No The payroll system correctly calculates payroll and keeps records.
No A cash receipt system is in place that records incoming money and how it was spent.
No 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
All essential and sustainable indicators have been changed from yes to no because of a lack of response from the tribal administrator and bookkeeper. The previous RUBA assessment was completed in 2011 and it is not confirmed if policies are still enforced. Previous reports stated that the Crooked Creek Traditional Council has a collection policy that was adopted on May 8, 2008 that states that if payment is not received and a repayment agreement has not been signed seven days after the past due notice was mailed; the clerk may begin collection actions. Bills are sent to customers on the first of each month. Currently there are only the clinic and school that receive a water usage bill as the two are the only water customers within the community. Residents are on a honey bucket system and the watering point is managed by the Crooked Creek Traditional Council. The Crooked Creek Traditional Council uses 2010 QuickBooks Premier for Non-Profits and uses Windows 7 for the accounting computer. The President has stated that all financial transactions are done with check, and any tokens bought with cash are recorded on a daily token log. To conserve paper, the bookkeeper and President are thinking of going to a weekly or monthly token log. The bookkeeper manages all fund expenditures and has to get approval from the President to ensure that funds are available. Bank reconciliations are done using QuickBooks.

Tax Problems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No 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.
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
A signed authorization to request federal tax information was received from the Tax Payer Advocate Service on December 12, 2013. It was reported that payroll taxes are due from 2011-2013 with significant civil penalties. The State Department of Labor did not grant tax clearance, reporting a missing report. Crooked Creek is not listed on the October Lien Watch Report. Anchorage RUBA staff contacted Judy Pearson, Indian Tribal Governments Specialist, who supplied detailed information on the EIN number and stated she would be happy to meet with the Tribal President and the LGS to discuss the taxes and fees. When contacted, the President declined a meeting until she could meet with the tribe's bookkeeper and has not returned any phone calls.

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.
Yes 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
The Crooked Creek Traditional Council is not listed among the Division of Workers Compensation database verification search. The Crooked Creek internal controls document has the internal administrative and accounting controls and job descriptions. All personnel folders are kept in a locked file cabinet in the council office. The council does not require a probationary period for all new hires. Trainings are offered when funding is available.

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 Crooked Creek Traditional Council is a Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) federally recognized tribe. The council is the policy making body for the utility and meets the second Tuesday of every month. The President is considered the utility manager and the operators report to the President and council. The President has also been the tribal office administrator since 2003. The President's resume was received and has the duties that the President has covered both as tribal office administrator and President. The bookkeeper has been employed with the tribe since 2005 and continues to be self sufficient and proactive with accounting issues. The primary water treatment plant operator is certified in Water Treatment 1, Waste Water Collection Provisional and Water Distribution Provisional and has been employed with the tribe since approximately 1998 to present. Resumes for the bookkeeper and water treatment operator were provided to the Anchorage RUBA staff. The organizational structure is in the Crooked Creek Wastewater Utility Business Plan. As a traditional council, the tribe is not required to have regular scheduled meetings, but has established the second Tuesday as a regular meeting each month. Public notices are posted and has the topics of each meeting.

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.
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".
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 primary water treatment plant operator is certified in Water Treatment 1, Waste Water Collection Provisional and Water Distribution Provisional and has been employed with the tribe since approximately 1998. The RMW stated that he has a copy of the operations and maintenance manual for the water treatment plant. Spot checks are made by the operator and there are some issues that the operator has repaired onsite. One issue is a crack in the settling tanks that has been repaired and the operator routinely checks to ensure that the crack is repaired and not leaking. Since there is only one operator, the utility does not hold formal safety meetings. There have been no level of service problems due to management issues. The utility is not on the SNC list. The operator knows what parts are needed and orders them as needed. No current inventory or critical spare part lists are maintained.