Quarterly Report: 2009, April - June (Q4), Circle

Brendan Smyth  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Federally Recognized Tribe 
Agreement Date:
Circle Native Community 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
Most homes haul treated well water from the washeteria/fire station or the school. Outhouses and honeybuckets are used for sewage disposal. All homes lack plumbing facilities. A feasibility study and master plan is underway to examine infrastructure alternatives. The landfill is located at mi. 156.5 Steese Hwy. Electricity is provided by Circle Electric Inc. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
The Circle Village Council met with Fairbanks RUBA staff to review the most recent management assessment and develop a work plan. The regional corporation has assumed all of the financial reporting aspects from the village council. There are sanitation projects funded without release of the funding due to the council's inability to pass the management assessment. RUBA staff has not had any contact with the community after the initial meeting where a work plan was created and tasks that the council and RUBA need to accomplish were determined; RUBA staff did provide it's portion of the items from the work plan. A follow up letter to the council was sent on June 9th but no response has been received. RUBA staff will work with the village council and regional corporation to accomplish essential indicators so that the community can pass the assessment and continue with the infrstructure projects. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Fairbanks RUBA staff mailed a follow up letter on June 9th offering further assistance but has not yet recieved a response. Contact will be attempted again, by the end of August.
Essential Indicators:
13 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
14 of 26
Total Score:
27 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.
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
The Tanana Chiefs' Conference, Inc. (TCC) still buys fuel oil and pays the electricity for the tribally-owned washeteria. Technically, the washeteria is still operating in red. RUBA staff has made some financial recommendations to have the washeteria operate at break-even or a small profit. The tribe sells treated water to the local school at $1,500 a month. There are several local residents that have their own water and sewer tanks. They each use several hundred gallons of treated water a week and use a self haul system; the water they use has no charge. RUBA has recommended that the tribe sell the water by installing a coin operated self fill system. TCC manages the financial aspects for the tribe and RUBA has further recommended that the tribe contact TCC to discuss resuming its own operations and reporting.

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.
No The utility has a cash disbursement system that records how money was spent.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
No 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.
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
Most of the tribe's finances continue to be handled by TCC staff. RUBA staff continues to recommend to the tribe to ask TCC to provide financial and status reports as none are currently delivered. The only water sales customer is the local school. The school has asked the tribe to send a monthly bill to them so that they can keep records.

Tax Problems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No 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.
No 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
RUBA staff continues to encourage the tribe to make effort to set up a payment plan with IRS. The IRS was contacted by the 1st chief at least 1.5 yrs. ago at the urging of RUBA staff and a verbal agreement was made to determine the monthly amount to be made. IRS has been very flexible.

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 positon for the tribal administrator is still open. When RUBA meet with the council it appeard that they were enganged and motivated to restart operations in the community. The clerk is the only paid position within the tribe.

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.
No The utility has an adequately trained bookkeeper.
No 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.
No The policy making body meets as required.
Yes The utility complies with the open meeting act for all meetings.
Organizational Management Comments
The tribal council owns the washeteria, the council is the policy making body. There is no paid manager or bookkeeper. RUBA is unable to locate who the operators are according to State of Alaska website.

Operation of Utility

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No 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.
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.
No The utility maintains a critical spare parts list.
Operation of Utility Comments
The tribe will need to change the watering point so that those that use large amounts of water can pay for the service. The tribal council complains that the treated water is even used to water lawns at private properties. The utility is not on the SNC list which would indicate someone is working as the water operator but RUBA can not determine who that is or if they have the necessary certification.