Quarterly Report: 2012, January - March (Q3), Gulkana

Michele Aranguiz  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Federally Recognized Tribe 
Agreement Date:
Gulkana Village 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
Water is derived from a well, treated and stored in a 100,000-gal. tank. A piped water and sewer system serves most homes. A community septic tank treats wastewater. A number of residences also use individual wells and septic tanks. Construction of a new treatment plant (to address high DBPs, lead and copper) was approved on January 20, 2012. A master plan has been completed to examine connection of all homes to a new system. Permafrost and high water tables are problematic in this region.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
This RUBA assessment expired in May, 2011, and Anchorage RUBA staff recommended that the community take on a new assessment process. Indicators have been shifted to 'no' to reflect a lack of current financial management information. Gulkana scheduled an onsite RUBA assessment in mid-March; this onsite visit was cancelled, in order for the village administrator to attend a local energy conference. Gulkana has re-scheduled an onsite RUBA assessment for May 8-9, 2012. The new water plant will begin construction this summer, and the community is committed to having an accurate and updated RUBA assessment. Gulkana Village Tribal Council is hiring a new administrator; this hiring process should be completed by April 20, 2012. Anchorage RUBA staff sees the upcoming onsite visit as an excellent opportunity to work with the new administrator in reviewing the community's managerial capacity.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Anchorage RUBA staff has scheduled an onsite RUBA Assessment for May 8-9, 2012.
Essential Indicators:
19 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
18 of 27
Total Score:
37 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
Essential and Sustainable indicators are marked as 'no,' as Gulkana has not submitted current financials. These indicators have historically all been 'yesses.' As soon as documentation is received, these categories can be reclassified accordingly. Tribal staff uses QuickBooks for all the utility finances including the operations of the Tribal Council. Utility expense is subsidized by state community revenue sharing and housing rental income.

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.
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
QuickBooks is used for billing, accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll, and cash receipts. The Council has a procurement policy in place for supplies, equipment, and contracts. Purchases over $500 must be approved by the Tribal Administrator and Accountant. Purchases of less than $500 are approved by the Tribal Administrator. Purchases exceeding $5,000 are approved by the village council.

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.
No 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
Essential indicators are marked as 'no,' as Gulkana has not submitted signed tax information release forms. These indicators have previously all been 'yesses.' When documentation is received, these categories can be reclassified accordingly.

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
A personnel policy is in place and job descriptions are available for all employees. If a position becomes vacant, the position is advertised and qualified candidates are interviewed for the position. Once an employee has been selected for a position, they are on probation for 90 days.

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.
No The utility complies with the open meeting act for all meetings.
Organizational Management Comments
The Village Council adopted a water and sewer ordinance in 2000 which is followed by utility staff and customers. The Tribal Administrator reports to the Village Council President on the activities of the utility on a regular basis. The Tribal Administrator and Bookkeeper have been in their positions for several years; these long term employees have meant stability for the utility.

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.
No The utility maintains an inventory control list.
Yes The utility maintains a critical spare parts list.
Operation of Utility Comments
The operator provides verbal reports about utility operations to the Administrator. One operator was certified at the Water Distribution P until December 31, 2011. A second operator was certified until December 31, 2011 at level Water Distribution P. No Gulkana operators are listed in the ADEC database. An update on certification will be entered with the new RUBA assessment. The community is still on the Significant Non-Complier (SNC) list (most recent - January 2012). The list notes that 'System is still having problems with very high DBPs (TTHM/HAA5). System is doing great on DBP monitoring.' Additionally, 'System needs treatment to reduce very high DBP levels to below the RAA MCLs and continue to collect quarterly TTHM/HAA5 samples.' Plans for remedy state 'Received approval to construct new treatment plant to address TTHM/HAAS MCL's, meet LT1/LT2, and address lead and copper on January 20, 2012. The intake received construction approval November 9, 2011. The filtration system will utilize the MIEX pro cess for organics removal and a package direct filtration system for LT1 compliance. LT2 monitoring will start as soon as the intake is constructed.'