Quarterly Report: 2011, April - June (Q4), Noatak

Georgianna Phillips  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Federally Recognized Tribe 
Agreement Date:
Native Village of Noatak 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
Water is derieved from the Noatak River and is treated. The primary well occasionally runs dry, groundwater wells have been unsuccesful in the area. A piped, recirculating water and sewer distribution systems services 100 homes, the school and businesses in Noatak. However, over half of the homes cannot use the service due to lack of plumbing. These residents haul water and honeybuckets; there is no washeteria. The village has requested funding for water treatment plant upgrades, this has been designed, permitted for construction and partially funded, however additional funding is needed. In addition a project to complete upgrades to the existing waste heat recovery system is planned for the summer/fall 2011. Funds also have been requested to upgrade the existing landfill; rehabilitate 2 lift stations; purchase of a 1500 gallon sludge pumper and to provide in-house plumbing to those without.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
On May 25, 2011, RUBA staff traveled to Noatak to conduct a RUBA management capacity assessment. RUBA staff reviewed each of the points of the assessment and clarified any material or indicators that were not clear. RUBA staff also met and networked with the other office staff during the onsite. The assessment revealed the Noatak Village Council has not met all essential indicators on the RUBA assessment.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff will work with the utility to meet the unmet indicators.
Essential Indicators:
21 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
17 of 27
Total Score:
38 of 53


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.
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.
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.
Yes 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
Although they are current in paying their electric bills, plus other accounts payable and the utility manager reported adequate fuel on hand, the utility had difficulty paying the fuel bill in the 2nd quarter and was supplemented by the Native Village of Noatak IRA Council for making this payment in the second quarter. Financial indicators do show that the utility does have the revenue at the end of the year, but due to lags in utility payments by the customers the revenues during this period were not sufficient to cover the payments of the fuel loan. The utility manager provides quarterly reports to the council.

Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No 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 Utility Board/Native Village Council meets once a month and recently has increased the reconnect fee from $50 to $100 as recommended. The utility bills customers monthly and tracks customer payments and past due accounts on the invoices issued. The accounts receivables history indicates that past due bills are paid by the customers when they receive the State of Alaska PFD's during the fall. The utility manager stated that no disconnects are done in the winter. At the time five(5) residents were identified by the manager for disconnect. The monthly bank reconciliations have been completed. However the utility manager needs to complete and close out past bank statements of 2005 through 2009.

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 utility utilizes QuickBooks to accurately calculate, track and report tax liabilities. The IRS and Dept. of Labor have deemed the utility compliant.

Personnel System

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility has a posted workers compensation insurance policy in effect.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
No 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.
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 workers compensation insurance policy had a lapse in policy and was brought to the attention of the administrator. Insurance has been purchased and insured by Liberty Northwest Insurance Corporation. The policy period is from May 21, 2011 to May 31, 2012. The Personnel Policy has been updated and adopted. The administrator used language for the personnel policy from Maniilaq Association, but has had no review process for topics and language. An adopted job description of the utility manager was on hand, but did not have a current job description for the water/sewer plant operators; RUBA staff provided to the administrator a job description to review and/or update and adopt.

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.
No 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 Noatak Utilities is a separate entity from the Native Village of Noatak as created by the Noatak Village Council. The utilities are regulated by the Native Village of Noatak Council and they also serve as the utility board. There is a set policy/timeline in which delinquent accounts are to be processed and followed. The maximum bill accumulated is set $225.00. The accounts indicated that five (5) accounts are well past this amount. In the personnel policy adopted by the council the administrator is now the supervisor of the utility manager, but much of the utility manager's work is still managed as an independent unit. The council meets once a month at which time the utility manager gives a report. The utility employees two operators, one serves as a permanent employee and the other as alternate. Both operators have met their CEU's but are not current in their certification. d enforces the utility policy. The utility makes it a practice not to shut off services in the winter and does so in the spring and summer. The utility has two operators, one as permanent and another as back-up. Both have met their CEU's but are not current in their operator certification.

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.
No 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
Currently the operator(s) are not certified at the correct level and will need additional training to obtain the correct certification. RUBA staff was unable to meet with the operator during assessment visit as he was out sick and the back-up operator was out of town. Both operators are current in CEU's but not in certification. The Utility has issued a 'Consumer Confidence Report' for the year 2008/2009 and is current with their CCR registration. The operators have a form for reporting the Pump house Daily Status but no completed forms were provided for review. The Utility manager did not have a safety manual or hold safety meetings. No major problems were reported by the utility manager at this time, but a concern was called into her regarding a lift station in an area where water was running and the possibility of run-off into the unit. As there was no available plant personnel to check on the lift station the utility manager was able to call in a past worker to check on the situation and to report on it.