Quarterly Report: 2009, April - June (Q4), Goodnews Bay

Community:
Goodnews Bay 
Staff:
Ralph Andrew  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of Goodnews Bay 
Population:
235  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
8/10/2009 
Community Sanitation Overview:
The Native Village of Goodnews Bay, under joint management by the Alaska Rural Utility Collaborative, (ARUC) operates a washeteria central watering point, provides for honeybucket haul, and has a sewage lagoon. The tribe, the policy making body for the utility, assumed water/sewer utility management from a community utilty board in August 2005. Currently, treated well water is hauled from the watering point at the washeteria/clinic facility. Most homes are currently not plumbed. A piped water and gravity sewer system with plumbing for 70 + homes is under construction. The project funding is expected to plumb homes including installation of fixtures. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Dillingham RUBA traveled to Goodnews Bay June 29-30 to meet with city officials on various matters including bookkeeping. During the visit RUBA stopped by the Native Village of Goodnews Bay offices to check in with the tribal administrator who was away from the office at that time. Of note, the new village health clinic is nearing completion. Clinic project contractors hope to connect to the new water/wastewater system soon to facilitate final tests of the clinic water and hydronic heating systems. Also of note, an airport improvement project remains underway with initial project completion estimated at October 2009. The Native Village of Goodnews Bay continues jointly managing the water/wastewater utility with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium's 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. The community water-wastewater project, led by the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC), remains underway and is reportedly delayed but will be completed on or near August 2009 according to the ANTHC project engineer.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA will maintain contact with the Native Village of Goodnews Bay and ARUC as they strive to maintain compliance with sanitation grant conditions.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
27 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
23 of 27
Total Score:
50 of 54

Finances

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 utility budget is balanced and realistic. ARUC produces monthly financial reports presenting year-to-date activity. 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 items does not appear in the budget. According to ARUC on July 1, 2009, year to date utility revenue fell behind even further for the month ending May 2009 but ARUC management indicates a $48,000 charge against the project for customer connection fees will bring the utility into positive revenue by July 2009. ARUC management voiced certainty that customer revenues will increase substantially after customer disconnection becomes possible once homes and businesses are connected to the piped water/wastewater system now scheduled for completion near August 2009. 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.
Yes The utility is current on filing tax reports.
Yes The utility is current on making tax deposits.
Yes 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
On July 6, 2009, the IRS reported that ARUC, the managing entity for this utility, is compliant with federal tax reporting and deposit requirements. On June 19, 2009 the Alaska Department of Labor (DOL) confirmed ARUC is meeting Alaska ESC tax obligations for the quarter ending March 31, 2009. 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, 2009. 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. ARUC enforces utility policy however, ARUC 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, the Native Village of Goodnews Bay, during the quarter ending June 30, 2009, 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 continues 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".
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 water operator possesses required certification. The operator utilizes a preventative maintenance plan and provides reports to the ARUC utility manager. According to an Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) report updated May 2009, the utility is presently on the SNC list for failure to submit a waiver renewal for SOC/OOC. RUBA recommends resolution of the violation in accordance with recommendations advised by ADEC. RUBA requested and received a copy of the 2008 Consumer Confidence Report.