Quarterly Report: 2014, July - September (Q1), Platinum

Barbara Higgins  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Federally Recognized Tribe 
Agreement Date:
Platinum Traditional Village 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
Platinum is a small community on the Bering Sea Coast in the Bethel Census Area. The Platinum Traditional Council operates a piped water system under Department of Environmental Conservation Water Permit #AK2271059. The system type is a well. The primary source of water is Ground Water Under the Direct Influence of Surface Water. The system is designated 'untreated' which means that no treatment chemicals are added to the water. There are 19 households in Platinum with a population of 61. Nine households and the public school are connected to the piped system and operate private wastewater systems. The remaining households access water from public watering points and dispose of honeybucket waste in private seepage pits. There are eight watering points thoughout the village. Village Safe Water has designed a new water plant for the community, however the feasibility of the plant would generate a cost per user greater than people could pay. Other funding is in place to connect five more homes to the piped system and install wastewater systems. Currently, a study is underway to determine if the water is truly under the direct influence of surface water. Community fuel storage capacity is as follows: Arviq village corporation. (67,100 gals.); City Power Plant (20,000); Lower Kuskokwim Schools (7,000). 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
In July, RUBA staff met with Village Safe Water (VSW) staff regarding community issues. RUBA staff discussed the City of Platinums current political atmosphere. Concern was expressed with the city resuming the operations and maintenance of the water/wastewater utility from the tribe. There is concern personality conflicts may arise that prevents projects from moving forward in the community. There was also a discussion as to what residents could afford as opposed to what they want. RUBA staff suggested any infrastructure planned for Platinums water/wastewater plant or seepage pit, be as simplistic as requirements would allow. VSW staff discussed the continual grants that are awarded to Platinum that end up being taken back for lack of meeting RUBA essential indicators. VSW is hopeful the determination of the citys well will be finalized soon, so it can be determined the direction the project needs to take to ensure the city has safe water. The Village Safe Water engineer for Platinum expressed interested in traveling with RUBA staff to Platinum in the near future to gain firsthand knowledge of the dynamics in Platinum. Also in July, Dillingham RUBA staff met with the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA) staff for information to help the City of Platinum obtain Certificates of Necessity and Convenience for its electric and water/wastewater utilities. RCA staff provided information regarding provisional certification for the water/wastewater utility, and offered technical assistance with any of the applications for certification. In August, RUBA staff contacted the mayor and advised that the FY14 Budget and Ordinance had not been submitted to Juneau. The water utility budget is included in the citys overall budget. A request was made for the mayor to follow up and get the budget submitted. RUBA staff was aware the budget was passed just not forwarded to the appropriate state office. RUBA staff traveled to Platinum again on August 27-30. The city recently took over the operations and maintenance of the water/wastewater utility, which was previously provided by the Platinum Traditional Council. The purpose of this visit was also to set up QuickBooks so the city has billing software in place. The set-up took place and the first billing from the city for the water/wastewater went out and the first payment was received during the visit. The fuel loan paperwork was completed and submitted to the DCRA office in Anchorage, and fuel was ordered. RUBA staff is also assisting the city with their water/wastewater ordinance. In September, the mayor of Platinum requested further assistance with the water/wastewater ordinance for the utility. RUBA staff sent several samples and a copy of the Platinum Traditional Councils ordinance that was in place during the tribes operations and maintenance of the utility. The mayor suggested it may be better to use the same ordinance language for the time being until the city can further assessed as to the condition of the utility. RUBA staff suggested a rate study to determine the break even cost for the city.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Essential Indicators:
0 of 1
Sustainable Indicators:
0 of 0
Total Score:
0 of 1


Essential Indicators
Answer Question
N/A All revenues and expenses for the utility are listed in the utility budget.
No The utility has adopted a balanced realistic budget.
N/A Monthly financial reports are prepared and submitted to the policy making board.
N/A The utility is current in paying all water/wastewater electric bills.
N/A The utility has on hand a year's adequate fuel supply or it has a financial plan to purchase an adequate supply.
N/A The utility is receiving revenues (user fees or other sources) sufficient to cover operating expenses.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
N/A The utility is receiving revenues (user fees or other sources sufficient to cover operating expenses and Repair & Replacement (R) costs.
N/A YTD revenues are at a level equal to or above those budgeted.
N/A YTD expenditures are at a level equal to or below those budgeted.
N/A A monthly manager's report is prepared.
N/A Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments

Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
N/A The utility has adopted a collection policy and actively follows it.
N/A The utility bills customers on a regular basis.
N/A An accounts receivable system is in place which tracks customers and reports past due accounts and amounts.
N/A An accounts payable system is in place.
N/A The payroll system correctly calculates payroll and keeps records.
N/A A cash receipt system is in place that records incoming money and how it was spent.
N/A The utility has a cash disbursement system that records how money was spent.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
N/A A chart of accounts is used that identifies categories in a reasonable, usable manner.
N/A Monthly bank reconciliations have been completed for all utility accounts.
N/A 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

Tax Problems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
N/A The utility has a system to accurately calculate, track, and report payroll tax liabilities.
N/A The utility is current on filing tax reports.
N/A 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

Personnel System

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
N/A The utility has a posted workers compensation insurance policy in effect.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
N/A The utility has adopted and uses a Personnel Policy, which has been reviewed by an attorney, AML or Commerce for topics and language.
N/A The utility has adequate written job descriptions for all positions.
N/A The utility has adopted and follows a written personnel evaluation process that ties the job description to the evaluation.
N/A The utility has an adequate written hiring process.
N/A The utility has personnel folders on every employee that contain at least: I-9, Job Application and Letter of Acceptance.
N/A The utility has a probationary period for new hires that includes orientation, job training/oversight, and evaluations.
N/A The utility provides training opportunities to staff as needed and available.
Personnel System Comments

Organizational Management

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
N/A The entity that owns the utility is known; the entity that will operate the utility is set.
N/A The policy making body is active in policy making of the utility.
N/A The policy making body enforces utility policy.
N/A The utility has an adequately trained manager.
N/A The utility has an adequately trained bookkeeper.
N/A The utility has an adequately trained operator or operators.
N/A The utility has adopted the necessary ordinances (or rules and regulations) necessary to give it the authority to operate.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
N/A The utility has adopted an organizational chart that reflects the current structure.
N/A The policy making body meets as required.
N/A The utility complies with the open meeting act for all meetings.
Organizational Management Comments

Operation of Utility

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
N/A The utility operator(s) are actively working towards necessary certification.
N/A The utility has a preventative maintenance plan developed for the existing sanitation facilities.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
N/A 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.
N/A The utility has a safety manual and holds safety meetings.
N/A Utility facilities have not suffered any major problems/outages due to management issues that are unresolved.
N/A The utility is operating at the level of service that was proposed.
N/A The operator provides status reports to the manager on a routine basis.
N/A The utility has completed and distributed its "Consumer Confidence Report".
N/A The utility is not on the "Significant Non-Complier" (SNC) list.
N/A The utility maintains an inventory control list.
N/A The utility maintains a critical spare parts list.
Operation of Utility Comments