Quarterly Report: 2010, October - December (Q2), Stevens Village

Stevens Village 
Brendan Smyth  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Federally Recognized Tribe 
Agreement Date:
Native Village of Stevens 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
Stevens Village has a small washateria with three washers, two dryers, two showers, and two bathrooms. The washateria was upgraded in 2002. The water plant provides service to the school and to the health clinic. Residents haul water from a watering point, and use honey buckets and outhouses for sewage disposal. Sewage from the washateria, clinic and school is disposed of in a lagoon. The lagoon is probably filled near capacity and should be discharged. A VSW sanitation planning feasibility study was completed in 2002, but was not approved. The scope of the new feasibility study has been changed several times to include additional alternatives in an effort to try to identify options that are affordable to the community. Stevens Village had planned on constructing a new multi-use facility to include a Denali Commission funded Clinic and a Hygiene Center with public showers and restroom facilities, but may be looking at renovating existing facilities as a more viable option. A design for a new solid waste facility has been completed. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
On July 23 RUBA staff talked with the Village Safe Water (VSW) engineer. The washeteria is currently open one day a week. The VSW project engineer stated that the community has some funding for the purchase of washers and dryers but that funding is not RUBA related. The community also has funding set aside from federal sources which are not RUBA related. The school is slated to close next year (school year) and that would impact the water facility and proposed water plant upgrades. There is $900,000 Denali Commission money for a washeteria (not sure if it is for an upgrade or new facility ) and also $400,000 federal stimulus money for waste water upgrades that would be under the purview of RUBA. While there is money reserved for the community there are currently no plans for use. Based on the poor relationship with the community it is the suggestion of the RUBA staff to removed the community from the online reporting to provide for a clean start when the time comes for a new assessment. RUBA staff mailed a letter to the tribal office on June 9 highlighting the free services available. RUBA was informed that the previous tribal president is no longer with the village council. RUBA's desire is to be able to establish more open communication with the community as there is a change in administration. Steven's Village has not responded to the offer of assistance but RUBA will continue to attempt quarterly contact. The last contact with the community was initiated from a private firm (Summit Consulting) when they contacted the RUBA program stating that they were in the process of developing a feasibility study for Stevens Village and inquired into the status of RUBA involvement with the community. RUBA staff told Summit Consulting that a private financial company is handling most management issues and RUBA does not have access to any information. A few weeks after that contact, the tribal president (now, no longer with the council) contacted RUBA stating that the community was going to propose a VSW project and needs a RUBA management assessment update. RUBA staff requested that the president submit a written request, which has not occurred. Staff also inquired about travel arrangements to the community to complete the assessment, which the president said was not necessary and a waste of time. RUBA staff referred the president to the RUBA program manager; no further communication has occurred.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff has received no communication from the village, RUBA staff will continue to offer assistance as needed.
Essential Indicators:
5 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
13 of 27
Total Score:
18 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.
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
There has been little communication between the community and RUBA aside from the last quarterly letter mailed on June 9, 2009. Previously available financial records indicated that annual utility expenses exceed annual revenues by approximately $68,000. It is possible that improved recordkeeping will show the actual deficit to be somewhat lower. Nonetheless, the community must be able to identify the source of funding for any subsidy of the utility and must be able to confirm the availability of those funds. The community did not have an overall budget that clearly identifies all of its income and expenditures. There is some concern that the community may have significant debt. At a meeting between RUBA staff and a private financial company, it was indicated that a new budget has been drafted (Stevens Village is on the Federal fiscal year) and was to be adopted in the third week of January 2008.

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
Yes 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.
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
There is nothing new to report for this quarter as there has not been any communication. Previously: The washeteria receives income from user fees and from charges for water/sewer service to the school. The school is billed and pays on a regular basis. The washeteria has not yet had to implement a collection policy. The electric utility bills on a regular basis, and has a collection policy; the Tribe has been taking steps to actively follow it. The hiring of the private financial company has improved the financial outlook for Stevens Village. At the meeting, it was indicated that the accounting system has been streamlined and the QuickBooks system is in much better shape. The QuickBooks program tracks customer accounts and reports past due amounts, accounts payable, and payroll records. A cash receipt and cash disbursement system is in place to record and track income and expenses. All expenditures are made by check, but some improvements may be needed. The chart of accounts identifies categories in a reasonable, usable manner but there is room for improvement.

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
The Alaska Department of Labor deem Stevens Village compliant.

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.
No 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.
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
There has been no communication. The tribal council has a personnel policy that was prepared by a consultant in 1999 and approved in 2001. The council is considering making changes and updating the policy. Job descriptions are not available for all employees and no evaluations have taken place in recent years. The personnel policy includes a probationary period for new hires, but not evaluations at the end of the probationary period.

Organizational Management

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No 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.
No 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 tribal council is the entity that operates the utility and has taken steps to become more active in making and enforcing policy. The tribal administrator has received training from Alaska Vocational Technical Center (AVTECH), Tanana Chief's Conference (TCC) and RUBA. The administrative assistant has received QuickBooks training through the University of Alaska Fairbanks and has previous QuickBooks experience. The washeteria has not needed an ordinance to operate. A water/sewer ordinance will be needed if the utility plans to provide expanded service to customers in the future (e.g. flush/haul system or piped system). The electric utility has policies and procedures. The tribal council does not have a current organizational chart. The council meets on a regular basis, although occasionally meetings are postponed for lack of a quorum, notably during the summer months. Meetings are open to the public.

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".
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 operator has a Water Treatment OIT certificate and a Water Distribution OIT certificate, both current until 12/31/11. A written preventative maintenance plan was recently provided to RUBA staff from the remote maintenance worker. The manager receives informal reports from the operator and spot checks the washeteria facility on an informal basis. The utility has safety data sheets but a safety manual was not available.