Quarterly Report: 2010, January - March (Q3), Goodnews Bay

Goodnews Bay 
Barbara Higgins  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Agreement Date:
City of Goodnews Bay 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
The Native Village of Goodnews Bay, under joint management by the Alaska Rural Utility Collaborative, (ARUC) operated a washeteria central watering point and provided for honeybucket haul up until this quarter when the community initiated use of the newly completed piped water/sewer system. Most residential and commercial customers are reportedly connected to the new surface water sanitation infrastructure which local leaders believe will improve public health. The tribe, the policy making body for the utility, assumed water/sewer utility management from a community utilty board in August 2005. Most residential structures are now plumbed. A piped water and gravity sewer system with plumbing for 70 + homes is completed; the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) had informed RUBA September 25, 2009 that they submitted a request to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation seeking interim approval to operate the new piped water/sewer system. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
The tribal council for the Native Village of Goodnews Bay continues jointly managing the water/wastewater utility with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) Alaska Rural Utility Collaborative (ARUC). The RUBA Assessment of Management Indicators, a special sanitation grant condition conducted for ARUC, is updated periodically to reflect the current status of RUBA indicators. Presently, all RUBA essential indicators are being met; details on each indicator are listed in this report. RUBA maintains contact with local government entities including the city and tribal council and, during the quarter, responded to questions from the mayor on topics including monthly financial reporting, personnel matters, and special election planning as the city had not completed its municipal elections during the quarter. Concerning fuel: fuel supplies in the community are sufficient; the local village corporation ordered and received ample supplies of heating fuel, diesel, gasoline, and propane. Of note, the corporation coordinates bulk fuel purchases through the Bureau of Indian Affairs and reportedly has enough fuel on hand to provide sales to Platinum, an adjacent community, should they run short on fuel, though it is not anticipated. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA will maintain contact with the Native Village of Goodnews Bay and ARUC as they work to maintain satisfactory sanitation grant conditions as the sanitation project wraps up.
Essential Indicators:
25 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
24 of 27
Total Score:
49 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.
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 new utility budget for the federal fiscal year starting October 1, 2009 is balanced and realistic. ARUC produces monthly financial reports presenting year-to-date activity. Of note, several line items have been modified to reflect the new revenue and expenditure projections associated with the new sanitation system brought online during the quarter. ARUC provides a subsidy when customer revenues fall short of expenditures. A subsidy is listed in ARUC monthly financial reports at a year-to-date amount of roughly $38,000 but the line item does not appear in the budget. According to an ARUC report for the month ending November 2009, year-to-date revenue exceeds expenditures by roughly $1,300. ARUC management indicated customer revenues will likely continue to stabilize since disconnection becomes possible once homes and businesses are connected to the piped water/wastewater system. The utility is current on its electric bills and indicates fuel is sufficient for operations. Manager's reports are prepared, and budgets, in prior quarters, were amended as necessary. RUBA requests confirmation that manager reports are in fact being consistently communicated to the advisory committee listed in the ARUC contract with the Native Village of Goodnews Bay.

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 ARUC bills customers consistently. ARUC operates under an agreement with the village council and a water/wastewater ordinance that includes a collections policy. Of note, collections continue to wane and an ARUC subsidy has been required to allow operational expenditures to continue. ARUC maintains a workers compensation policy and uses computerized accounting to monitor and track finances. ARUC maintains accounting records including accounts payable, receivable, and payroll under direction of a utility manager based in their central office in Anchorage. ARUC maintains a chart of accounts, reconciles bank accounts, and utilizes a purchasing system that requires approval prior to purchase.

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.
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
A 04-08-2010report from the IRS indicates ANTHC ARUC is not compliant with federal tax reporting and deposit requirements for the 3rd quarter of 2009 and has no payment agreement. On 03/23/10 the Alaska Department of Labor (DOL) reported ANTHC ARUC is meeting Alaska ESC tax obligations for the quarter ending 12/31/09. ARUC uses accounting software to process payroll out of their Anchorage office.

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
Workers compensation insurance coverage, purchased for ANTHC through Alaska National Insurance Company is reportedly current until October 1, 2010. ARUC abides by a comprehensive personnel policy, maintains personnel folders, utilizes a probationary period for new hires, and provides training opportunities to staff. Water operator staff duties include washeteria maintenance; however, ARUC reports that the associated costs of such work are covered in full by the Native Village of Goodnews Bay.

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
ARUC oversees water/wastewater utility management with the village council through a written, contractual agreement signed by the Native Village of Goodnews Bay December 18, 2007. Although ARUC enforces utility policy, it continues seeing a low collection rate. According to the agreement, ARUC is to meet with an advisory council that includes representation from the community. RUBA requests confirmation that the advisory committee is in fact meeting and being provided operational and financial information as outlined in the ARUC agreement. A water/wastewater ordinance is in place. ARUC continues managing utility billing and collection services. The water operator is trained. Of note, during the quarter ending June 30, 2009, the Native Village of Goodnews Bay was seeking to fill an alternate water operator position in the community. On a related note, the Native Village of Goodnews Bay reportedly operates a community washeteria with financial contributions from the City of Goodnews Bay and assistance from the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. The Native Village is seeking to transfer ownership and management of the washeteria to the City. RUBA has recommended the Native Village assemble and provide the City with a washeteria monthly financial report and budget to facilitate review by the City.

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.
Yes 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.
Yes The utility maintains an inventory control list.
Yes The utility maintains a critical spare parts list.
Operation of Utility Comments
The primary water operator possesses required certification. The operator utilizes a preventative maintenance plan and provides reports to the ARUC utility manager. RUBA requested and received a copy of the 2008 Consumer Confidence Report.