Quarterly Report: 2014, April - June (Q4), Klukwan

Ryan Wilson  
DCRA Regional Office:
Juneau regional office 
Gov't Type:
Federally Recognized Tribe 
Agreement Date:
Chilkat Indian Village 
93 2013 Department of Labor Estimate 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Completed 
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
The Chilkat Indian Village of Klukwan is a federally recognized tribe, located on the north bank of the Chilkat River. The village is in the unorganized borough, though it is surrounded on all sides by the Haines Borough. The tribe owns just under 2,000 acres of land. It is a traditional Tlingit village, which hosts the Hospitality House and the Traditional Knowledge Camp. Many residents participate in subsistence activities and some also work seasonally in mining and logging. The village has a school with 19 students and a SEARHC Medical Center. It also provides wastewater services through a sludge treatment system, road maintenance, and solid waste services including pick-up, landfill, and recycling. Chilkat Indian Village of Klukwan operates and manages a Class 2 treated water system, which draws groundwater under the influence of surface water, as well as a wastewater sludge treatment system.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
During the most recent quarter, RUBA staff was contacted by the community of Klukwan concerning an issue with billing text, that did not include language from the Regulatory Commission of Alaska. RUBA staff made note that the language is required, and provided the community with sample language to include on their billing to ensure that future billings will include the required text. RUBA staff provided the Community Confidence Report (CCR) information and the iWriter link to water utility staff and encouraged them to complete the report and distribute within the community by the July 1st deadline. RUBA staff worked with the community in order to check state and federal tax compliance.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff has recently engaged the community of Klukwan regarding their budgeting practices. The community of Klukwan has been recycling their 2011 budget for the past several years instead of passing new budgets that reflect the financial circumstances of the community. RUBA staff will continue engagement and is seeking an opportunity to travel to the community and assist in training financial staff on means to create a new, more comprehensive budget for the future.
Essential Indicators:
23 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
20 of 27
Total Score:
43 of 53


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.
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
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.
Yes A monthly manager's report is prepared.
No Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
The Chilkat Indian Village of Klukwan follows the calendar year as their fiscal year. Klukwan recently told RUBA staff that they have been recycling their 2011 budget, rather than creating a new budget annually. Without a current and realistic budget, it is not possible to adequately compare year-to-date revenues and expenditures, nor for the village council to ensure finances are in line and appropriate. The village's FY11 budget outlined sufficient and realistic expenditures for the water utility, including repair and maintenance costs. However, revenues were not sufficient to cover expenditures. According to the FY11 Profit and Loss report, the water utility had a deficit of $6,748. In FY11, the village received $36,020 in Community Revenue Sharing, which was sufficient to subsidize the water utility deficit. With the use of Community Revenue Sharing as a subsidy source, the utility is able to cover all operating expenses and basic repair and replacement costs. According to the accrual-basis profit and loss reports, the water utility is netting positive. However, the village's water utility collection rate as of June 2012 was 55 percent with a delinquency rate of 45 percent. Customers tend to pay off delinquent accounts after receiving PFD payments, thus the delinquency will fluctuate throughout the year but does not stay at the low end of 45 percent. However, the utility is still not collecting enough user fees to cover operating expenses. In recent years, Community Revenue Sharing has been sufficient to subsidize the cost of the water utility. The village council requests financial reports periodically, though this is not currently a regular practice. When requested, accrual-basis year-to-date profit and loss and balance sheets, along with a manager's report, may be provided to the council. The village undertakes full audits every year, due to receiving state and federal funds exceeding $500,000. Currently, most of these funds are in the form of various grants for specific projects. The annual audit reports should be a good source of information for yearly budgets as the city, and RUBA staff, work to produce more comprehensive budgets in the future. The village accountant takes all recommendations made in audit results and makes changes as necessary. The water utility receives its electricity from Island Power Electic Cooperative (IPEC), which bills on a monthly basis. The village provided evidence of payment, and reports having sufficient money on hand to purchase fuel as needed from nearby Haines.

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 Chilkat Indian Village Tribal Code Chapter 13.04 provides for water and wastewater utilities. Sections 13.04.020, 13.04.040, and 13.04.120-13.04.180 address water and wastewater utility rates and collection policies. Customers are billed monthly by invoice, which includes currently $20 for residential water, $20 for residential wastewater, and $20 for garbage pick-up. Accounts are delinquent on the twentieth day of the following month. Written notice of delinquency is provided to the home owner and a late charge of one and a half percent per month begins accruing. After an account becomes delinquent, a written turn-off notice is sent to the owner by certified mail. If payment is not made, the village retains the right to shut off water service and restore water services upon full payment. Most buildings in the village do not have water shut-off valves. Recently, one shut-off valve was installed at a delinquent home and the water was shut off. This customer promptly paid the bill along with many neighbors who also had delinquent accounts. Subsequently, the village parked shut-off equipment in front of the home of another delinquent customer and the customer made payment before the shut-off valve could be installed. The village does not have adequate funds to install shut-off valves at all homes. However, the threat of shut-off has successfully decreased the delinquency rate. Some homes have access to their own shut-off valves and thus have the power to turn their water back on after the village has shut it off. This is in the process of being rectified one residence at a time. While village staff report that payment plans are an option for delinquent customers, this is not detailed in the village utility code. The utility uses the QuickBooks program to track both accounts receivable and payable. An aging summary was produced to establish the utility collection rate. Payroll, cash receipt, and cash disbursement systems are also tracked via QuickBooks. All accounting practices are documented and controlled by the accountant in close partnership with the tribal administrator. The provided chart of accounts separates accounts into types such as bank, accounts receivable, other current assets, accounts payable, other current liabilities, equity, income, and expense. The utility has a separate bank account (titled Ref: Water and Sewer) to track water and wastewater revenues and expenditures. Reconciliations are completed by the accountant on a monthly basis. To request a check, employees must complete a Check Request Form, and have it signed by the tribal administrator. The accountant then produces the check.

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.
N/A 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 village uses the QuickBooks program to track and pay payroll tax liabilities, both state and federal. The State of Alaska Department of Labor Employment Security Division granted tax clearance on May 30, 2014. Taxpayer Advocates provided IRS clearance for the community on June 6, 2014.

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
The village receives workers' compensation insurance coverage from Alaska National Insurance Company. Coverage was last verified on June 26, 2014. The employer's notice of insurance is posted in the tribal office, at the water plant, and in the hospitality house. The village has a policy and procedures manual, last updated March 8, 2002. Policies outline a number of documents to be included in all personnel folders, including the required I-9, Job Application, and Letter of Acceptance (called Notification of Employment). Recruitment and hiring are outlined in Section XVIII of the manual. In accordance with Section XXIV, all employees are subject to a ninety day probationary period, including an orientation and specific requirements for advancement into permanent employee status. Section XXXVII provides for a detailed, job-specific employee performance evaluation process. Village staff provided a copy of a job announcement and a job description. The job description is detailed, providing for purpose, authority, an extensive list of duties, necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities, qualifications, hours, and rates of pay. Staff reports there are job descriptions for each position. The village council and management encourages staff to attend trainings. They have historically encouraged staff to attend RUBA trainings and are now encouraging this practice to recommence. Water operators are certified at the expected levels and when new tasks are assigned to workers, they are provided with the necessary training to achieve their new tasks. For instance, the water operator will soon be assigned the task of all billing for the water utility. However, he is first being sent to QuickBooks training.

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
The Chilkat Indian Village Tribal Code Chapter 13.04 provides for a water utility. Section 13.04.060 establishes the Chilkat Indian Village as the owners of the water utility, while Section 13.04.05 provides the village with the authority to operate the utility and to provide water and wastewater services to the village. The tribal council is the policy-making body for the utility and meets at least once per month, except during the summer. This exceeds the minimum meeting requirements as set out in code. The council is actively engaged in policymaking for the water utililty, including revisions to collections policies. The council is currently deliberating revisions to the code which would clarify delineation between village property and individual property. While this initially appears explicit in the code, when factoring in matters of tribal land ownership versus individual home ownership, these matters become complex. The council is aware of the confusion and actively working toward resolving it through revisions to the code. The village council and managers greatly encourage staff to attend available trainings and bring trainings on-site when necessary. The bookkeeper, manager, and water operators have all been working for the village for many years and have received training throughout. In addition to previous trainings attended, RUBA and QuickBooks trainings are being encouraged at this time. The utility's water operator has attended the RUBA Planning, Personnel, and Financial Management trainings. The community's environmental planner also attended the RUBA Planning and Personnel trainings. The village organizational chart clearly establishes lines of authority. Chilkat Indian Village Tribally Enrolled Membership are at the top of the chart, followed by the council, tribal administrator, and other administrative staff. The chart then divides into Environmental Resources and Community and Cultural Resources. The water operator is found under the Environmental Resources department. All village positions are listed on the organizational chart.

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
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.
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.
No 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 water treatment plant utilizes liquid chlorine due to the type of plant. The plant goes through about one barrel of liquid chlorine per year and has at least two in stock. There are currently problems with wastewater line pumps breaking down, likely the result of river depth changes. When the river is high, it backs up into the lift station, overworking the pumps. The overflow can be plugged, but must be unplugged when the river level goes back down. One pump is currently running but not pumping, due to the problem. It is not yet known whether the pump can be repaired or will need to be replaced. The utility already owns replacement pumps. The water storage tank is between 20-30 years old, and it is recommended that it be replaced because it does not have baffles. This would reduce the chlorine needed to purify the water. The water source is groundwater (under the influence of surface water) from a hill just past the water plant. The raw water turbidity level is .04. The main water operator is certified for water treatment class 2 through December 31, 2016, and has met renewal requirements. The water utility also has two back-up operators. The utility has safety manuals provided with the new system and the water operator meets with the two back-up operators regularly to walk through the water plant and discuss any issues. Such safety meetings are held at each shift change, as well as once every two months with all water utility staff members present. The water operator is in close communication with the community's Remote Maintenance Worker, and is continuing to learn more about this new water treatment plant installed in 2008. The system came with a preventative maintenance plan and it has not suffered any major problems. The utility does not presently have an inventory control list, or critical spare parts list.