Quarterly Report: 2011, October - December (Q2), Tanana

Jeffrey Congdon  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Water Systems 
Agreement Date:
Too-gha, Incorporated 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
The water and wastewater utilities in the city of Tanana are operated by Too'gha, Inc. which is a non-profit utility board. Water is drawn from a well near the Yukon River, a watering point is available. In the spring of 2010 the Too'gha board entered into a management agreement with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC)'s Alaska Rural Utility Collaborative (ARUC) or other personnel within ANTHC to provide billing assistance and at a later date complete an assessment prior to increasing ARUC's management capacity. ARUC took over billing in June 2010 with an initial plan of handling billing for a three month period, then informing the Too'gha board of the viability of the utility, with an option of ARUC overtaking operations of the water and wastewater of the utilities, with Too'gha retaining the operations of the laundromat and washateria. A conclusion or decision by ARUC and or Too'gha has not been made regarding the further management of the utilities by ARUC. A new washateria and water treatment facility was constructed in 2001 and opened to the public in early 2002. As part of an on-going project, piped water/wastewater service is currently available to approximately 58 customers including the school, four public facilities, several commercial units, and residential customers. The community is seeking additional funds to provide water/wastewater services to residents not served by the existing water/wastewater system. The landfill uses an incinerator and provides recycling services. Tanana Power Company provides electricity. In November 2007 two wood burning boilers, to provide a supplemental source of heat, was installed at the water/wastewater utility. The wood boilers provided hot water for the washing machines but were not connected to the entire building. During the summer of 2010 the system was modified so that the wood boilers can provide heat for the building and all domestic water usage. Solar panels were installed on the roof of the washateria to provide a supplemental source of electrical power.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Too'gha staff has supplied RUBA personnel with requested (albeit limited) documentation, (limited due to the fact that Too'gha is not directly involved in all of the operational accounting due to their contract with Alaska Rural Utility Collaborative. RUBA staff has spoken with the city manager (a utility board member) about other utility propositions in Tanana, about broadband internet funding, and about the prospect of further utilizing propane fuels in Tanana and other river communities in Alaska.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
No activity is scheduled.
Essential Indicators:
23 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
19 of 27
Total Score:
42 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.
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.
No 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
Yes 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
Too'gha staff was only able to supply limited documents to RUBA personnel. Too'gha staff was unable to supply a current budget to RUBA at this time. The laundromat generally operates at a loss that is supplemented by revenues generated by the water/wastewater utilities. This quarter the utilities generated positive revenues. Too'gha utilizes a federal fiscal calander and just ended the first fiscal quarter. The Too'gha board meets quarterly, the board is provided with financial statements on a quarterly basis.

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
June was the first month that ANTHC began billing customers. The utility and ARUC are entering into a professional relationship, the first stage of this agreement has ANTHC taking over the billing management for the utility. ANTHC receives customer payments, deducts their management fee and forwards the remainder to the utility. The utility still processes Accounts Payable and payroll. The Tribe's bookkeeper, through in-kind contribution, is also the utility bookkeeper and is fulfilling the role well.

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 deems Too'gha to be compliant as of December 27, 2010. Too'gha and the city of Tanana are deemed compliant with the IRS as of December 27, 2010.

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
The city of Tanana has a current workers compensation insurance policy in effect. The non-profit Too'gha operates under the city of Tanana's workers compensation insurance policy. RUBA and Village SafeWater staff have been informed by Too'gha personnel that the city's workers compensation insurance will cover Too'gha employees. RUBA staff has not verified this with the insurance company. The utility has a personnel policy and procedures manual which RUBA has evaluated and a copy is on file in the Fairbanks office. Job descriptions have been in existence since the utility was created and copies are also on file. The water operators take advantage of training opportunities and are current on the certificates necessary for producing clean water. The hiring process is written in the personnel manual, chapter 2.

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.
No 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
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
Meeting minutes from previous quarters indicate that the board is active as it decided to reducing operating costs by reducing operator hours and increasing user fees. In July 2009 the board approved that board member Cliff Wiehl is to have oversight of the Laundromat employees and the utility operators. The tribe provided bookkeeper is adequate, as most of the finances are handled by an outside agency. The organizational chart in the personnel policy and procedures manual has not been updated to reflect the current structure.

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.
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.
Yes The utility maintains a critical spare parts list.
Operation of Utility Comments
The utility has certified wastewater personnel, and the operators have Water Distribution and Water Treatment Provisional Certificates but the Remote Maintenance Worker indicated the need to have fully certified operators. According to the most recent SNC list, current in November 2010, the utility does not have any violations. The utility does not maintain an inventory of parts but with the assistance of the Remote Maintenance Worker a list of critical spare parts is provided.