Quarterly Report: 2010, July - September (Q1), Chalkyitsik

Brendan Smyth  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Federally Recognized Tribe 
Agreement Date:
Chalkyitsik Village 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
The Village Council operates the one central watering point and washeteria. The Village Council is the policy-making body for the utility. Most residents haul water from the new water treatment plant/washeteria and use honeybuckets or outhouses for sewage disposal. The village provides water to the school. A master plan was completed to study improvements needed to provide a community system. Chalkyitsik has been funded by ANTHC for $799,690 for water treatment improvements, connecting the school and ten homes on the west side to piped water and sewer, and a community watering point. They have also been funded by DEC/VSW for $192,400 for Phase 2, and USDA/RD funded them for Phase 3 for $405,700. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Fairbanks RUBA staff have communicated little with the city. More contact is needed for the next Quarter and a new trip out to the community will be broached by RUBA staff. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff will continue to communicate with the city to get goals organized and a plan that will be followed.
Essential Indicators:
15 of 23
Sustainable Indicators:
17 of 27
Total Score:
32 of 50


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.
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
The village council does not have an entity budget and there is no utility specific budget. As such, a budget vs. actual report can not be provided to the council; no financial reports are provided to the council. RUBA is unable to determine if the utility is paying electric expenses as there is no budget and no accounts payable report showing a line item. The tribe also owns the electric utility but does not charge tribal facilities for power. The washeteria expenses are limited to payroll and taxes, nominal amounts for fees, parts, and supplies, and the expense line items of reimbursement and utilities actually have a credit. There is no washeteria expense for fuel. Fuel is flown in as needed, typically every four weeks (plus or minus depending on weather conditions). The council obtained a Bulk Fuel Loan from the State of Alaska and has been current on paying the bills, documentation showing payment history was obtained. Revenue is recorded in a useable manner but the expenses are not, so it is not possible to determine if revenue is sufficient to cover expenses. Customers prepay for electricity using the powerstat card system, the self haul watering point is free, and the washeteria uses tokens. Each token is $2.50, the washers, dryers, and showers each take two tokens per cycle. The tribal administrator collects payment for the above mentioned services in addition to other village services (maintenance services, equipment rental, rental income, State of Alaska elections, and so forth.). The total deposit is given to the bookkeeper who enters the amounts into QuickBooks. Again, as there is no budget, it is not possible to determine if the revenue or expenses are at a level equal to or above/below those budgeted. Monthly financial management reports, which are written narratives that explain the QuickBooks reports, are not prepared.

Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes 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.
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.
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
The school is the water utility's only billed customer. A service contract between the tribe and school exists which outlines the rights, responsibilities, and rates. The school contract (which is sufficient for the first criteria of collection policy) is actively followed. The school pays monthly, for a 12 month period, but a copy of the bill could not be located in QuickBooks. RUBA asked for a copy of the monthly bill but has not yet seen one. No other customers receive bills or are subject to collections because all utility services are either prepaid or paid for at the time of service. Accounts receivable are tracked for the electric utility which reports customer past due (or credits as the case actually is). For the water utility, the school is not part of the accounts receivable system. The village uses QuickBooks so an accounts payable system is in place but it is not used. Invoices are not entered into the computer as they are received and payment is not reconciled against the bill. Payroll is accurate and QuickBooks is utilized for this function completely. The cash receipt system is a combination of manual and computer reporting. As customers prepay for electricity or pay for washeteria tokens, the tribal administrator receives the money and writes a receipt, a copy of which is permanently retained in the wire bound receipt book. The bookkeeper is able to use the receipt book to accurately split the deposit out by electricity or washeteria income. Out going funds for the water utility are disbursed from the utility checking account and a description of what the money was spent on is provided. The chart of accounts is very inclusive. Monthly reconciliations have been done. The tribe does have a purchasing policy, as part of the larger Finance Policy and Procedures manual (copy on file in Fairbanks), which outlines the process. To summarize the procedure, a check request is submitted, the administrator reviews for appropriate coding, approves for signature, the bookkeeper authorizes that funds are available, the check is signed. The crucial step that is missing, in policy and action, is that funds are verified against the checking account and not the budget.

Tax Problems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
N/A The utility has a system to accurately calculate, track, and report payroll tax liabilities.
N/A The utility is current on filing tax reports.
N/A 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
RUBA staff is currently awaiting the information regarding the cities compliance with necessary reports.

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.
No 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
Workers compensation insurance is through Alaska National Insurance, valid until November 2009. The policy is posted on the council wall and RUBA obtained a copy. The village has a personnel policy which is adequate; the policy outlines the hiring process and describes the probationary period. Job descriptions exist for the utility positions. Formal written evaluations are not done, as verbally told to RUBA staff, and no evaluations were noticed in employee files. Letters of reprimand, or warning, are provided to employees and corrective performance meetings between employee and the village council are done (as documented by letters between the tribal administrator and employees but which RUBA staff did not take copies). The personnel policy and procedures manual outlines the hiring process starting with the recruitment notice, selection, and even an interview summary sheet. Personnel files contain the necessary documentation of I-9, application, and letter of acceptance. The probationary period is 90 days, as stated in the personnel manual, during which job-training is occurring. Training opportunities are available to staff through TCC and RUBA; the administrator has taken advantage of these in the past and is currently scheduled to attend a TCC training in May.

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.
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
A signed ordinance stating that the tribe has responsibility of the utility and tribal bylaws allow for the tribe to assume this power, both of which RUBA has a copy of in the Fairbanks office. The tribal council is the policy making body for the utility. The ultimate responsibility to ensure that a budget is created and that financial reports are provided rests with the council. As these functions have not been fulfilled RUBA has indicated that the policy making body is not active in policy making for the water utility. An attempted review of the last six months of meeting minutes to determine how involved the council is with the utility was difficult as meeting minutes for the last six months could only be found for the January 19, 2009 and February 19, 2009 meetings. The council is active in enforcing utility policy, specifically with regard to personnel issues and documentation to support this are on file. The utility manager, bookkeeper, and operator are adequate. The bookkeeper's adequacy should not be based solely upon the state of the financial reporting as it is up to the council to ensure that a budget is created and approved, although, between the bookkeeper and the private CPA the tribe should be able to have a budget created. The above three mentioned staff members have the skills necessary to fulfill the functions of the positions. An organizational chart for the tribe is in existence, the council meets monthly and those meetings are open to the public with the necessary public notice posting.

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.
No 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.
Yes The utility maintains an inventory control list.
Yes The utility maintains a critical spare parts list.
Operation of Utility Comments
The primary operator, Larry Henry, has a water treatment and distribution OIT level certification which is valid until 2010. The utility has a preventative maintenance plan, as part of the larger operations and maintenance manual. The utility manager, who the tribal administrator informally identified as Willie Salmon, receives verbal updates from the water operator and Mr. Salmon does make routine checks on the facility in addition to periodically working in the utility. Mr. Henry, the operator, provides a list of daily activities and notes to the administrator when he submits his timesheet. The list identifies work completed and operations issues. The administrator was unsure if a safety manual existed but stated that safety meetings between the tribal council and the employee to discuss drinking issues occur. The utility has been suffering from outages but they are not the result of management issues. At the time of the RUBA visit the sewer line was frozen which prevented the few flush toilets to work. The flush system is for the tribal office, washeteria and clinic. As the sewer line was frozen the water to the buildings was not operable. As an aside, the TCC Engineer told RUBA that the water lines in the tribal office have frozen due to a lack of fuel being delivered to the office, but that is not specifically related to management of the water utility. The utility is still making potable water and residents still have access to the self haul system. The sewer line and washeteria closure has been a chronic problem every winter. The most recently required CCR is from 2007, RUBA took a copy of the first page of the report. Currently, the utility is on the SNC list for a stage 1 violation. Return to compliance would be December 2009, baring any other issues. Water operator, Larry Henry, was able to provide a hand written list of parts and supplies to RUBA. An email request to the ANTHC engineer asking for assistance in obtaining a formal list, which would have been created specific to the utility, has not been returned.