Quarterly Report: 2012, January - March (Q3), 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. The project has missed the funding two years in a row and was able to score very high for the FY2012 cycle. In addition a project to complete upgrades to the existing waste heat recovery system has been funded. Work was to commence late 2011 but to date to construction has begun.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
In Janaury the local supplier of fuel had run out of fuel and was unable to have a delivery as expected made due to cold weather. The water utility assisted the community with providing fuel until such time fuel was delivered. The fuel was delivered to the community after the temperatures reached a temperature which the plane delivering the fuel could fly in. February 9, the administrator reported that the community had an power outage over the weekend. As a result of the outage, a lift station along the route to the seweage lagoon froze. A jetter and hose was donated to the community to begin the process of thawing the main sewer line. The utility began round the clock work in an effort to thaw the sewer main. The plant operator after a number of days became ill and was unable to continue working. The alternate was away on medical, so the utility had hired persons to complete the work were not experienced in operating the equipment. Because the equipment could not be properly operated the utility workers were unable to thaw the line and the community still using the sewer services the utility workers would empty the lift station a bucket at a time. The utility manager requested assistance from February 16, from either Maniilaq RMW or ANTHC in thawing the service line. A charter with equipment and manpower flew into Noatak the next day and began the process of thawing the sewer main. After four days of work the force main was operational again. During this time the community was put on Boil Water Notice. Upon inspection of the plant it was discovered that the chlorine injection was lacking. As the operators had not been available to work due to medical, it was uncertain when the last maintenance had been completed. The utility hired to temporary operators to monitor the plant operations. The permanent operator returned to work late in March and was able to monitor/test the water as required. The Utility was notified March 16 that Noatak was off the Boil Water Notice. The Utility Manager tendered her resignation the later part of March. The utility is managed as a separate entity and several attempts have been made by RUBA staff to obtain the monthly financials for the quarter along with council minutes to reflect their acceptance of them. RUBA staff will continue to work on having the utility provide the council minutes and monthly financials. The community has received legislative grants for a Storage Shed in the amount of $150,000 and another for $125,000 for the storage shed and equipment. To date the items have not been completed.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff will continue to work with the Utility so that it meets essential indicators to meet funding requirements for projects that need to be completed.
Essential Indicators:
26 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
20 of 27
Total Score:
46 of 54


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.
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.
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 council increased the rates for water and sewer to meet the expenses of the utility. Financials were reported for January and February, 2012. The council set aside from its general funds money for emergencies and repair and replacement. This amount was quickly used during the freeze in February.

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
Besides increasing the water and sewer rates the Council and manager of the utility have reaffirmed their policy of collection of past due accounts and the manager has been directed to follow the policy. The utility has not provided financials for review to either the council or as requested by RUBA staff.

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 utility uses 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
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 Noatak IRA uses Liberty Northwest Insurance Corporation for a policy period of May 21, 2011 to May 31, 2012. The Personnel Policy has been updated and adopted. Job descriptions for the manager and the water/sewer plant operators are current.

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 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 personnel policy adopted by the council provides for the administrator as the supervisor of the utility manager. The utility employees two operators, one serves as a permanent employee and the other as alternate. Both operators have met their CEU's and are both long-term employees.

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.
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.
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 Utility is current on their CCR registration. The operators have a form for reporting the Pump house daily status. Utility will then utilize manual to ensure compliance as indicated by the Utility Manager and Council. To date no confirmation of safety manuals have been provided to RUBA staff, though it has been requested.