Quarterly Report: 2009, January - March (Q3), Port Heiden

Port Heiden 
Julie Dirks  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Federally Recognized Tribe 
Agreement Date:
Native Village of Port Heiden 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
Individual wells and septic tank systems are used by most homes in Port Heiden. The school operates its own well and treatment system. Of 37 occupied households, 31 are fully plumbed. The city currently provides septic pumping services, and collects refuse three times a week. The landfill is located 6.5 miles northeast of the community. A recent VSW project replaced septic tanks, and a new septic pumper truck was purchased and is operated by the tribal council, replacing the service previously offered by the city. Another VSW grant will provide funds to construct a washeteria.  
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
On March 5, 2009 RUBA staff participated in a joint meeting with VSW, USDA, and the Native Village of Port Heiden. The washeteria project is at 35% design. The selected option includes a 1500 sq. ft. building that contains a treated watering point along with three to four commercial washer and dryers. The estimated cost is around $2 million. At this point there is $1.2 million funds committed to the project with $500,000 coming from the Denali Commission and the remaining $700,000 coming from EPA. The community is working with the USDA/RD program to obtain the remaining $800,000. Work will be started to get the project to 65% design. A site visit to Port Heiden was made by RUBA staff March 9-12, 2009. RUBA staff met with NVPH staff to review the RUBA assessment and discuss documentation that would change 'no' responses to 'yes'. Main identified activities include: revision of the NVPH utility ordinance to include the washeteria, training for a water operator and alternate, and development of a business plan once 65% design was completed and better operation estimates were available.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff will provide assistance as requested by phone, fax, and e-mail to meet capacity indicators. RUBA staff will assist with the preparation of a business plan and revision of utility ordinance if requested by NVPH staff.
Essential Indicators:
12 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
9 of 27
Total Score:
21 of 54


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
While there is no utility budget, the Native Village of Port Heiden manages 34 funds that include funds from BIA, EPA, IHS, State of Alaska and other sources. The QuickBooks classes feature is used to track financial activity and payroll.

Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No The utility has adopted a collection policy and actively follows it.
No The utility bills customers on a regular basis.
No 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 tribe does not presently operate any utilities in the community. However, a utility ordinance was adopted by the tribe for a sewage disposal utility that ended up being operated by the city. The ordinance contains information about collections, fees to be charged, etc. Information was requested about the NVPH accounts receivable system but no response has been received as yet. The NVPH uses QuickBooks to track revenue and expenditures for 34 funds.

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
The NVPH was reported to be in compliance with federal and state tax filing and deposit requirements as of September, 2008. The tax status has not been verified recently.

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.
No The utility has adequate written job descriptions for all positions.
No 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.
No The utility has personnel folders on every employee that contain at least: I-9, Job Application and Letter of Acceptance.
No 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 NVPH provided a current Employer's Notice of Insurance to RUBA staff. The NVPH has a Native preference policy in place that gives priority to Alaska Natives when filling positions. The Native preference in hiring is not allowed to be exercised when filling positions funded by the VSW program. Positions are advertised for a minimum of ten days. The tribal council appoints employees, though they may delegate this responsibility. There is no mention in the policies of a personnel evaluation process.

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.
No The utility has an adequately trained operator or operators.
No 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 NVPH Council meets once monthly except during the summer months when all council members fish commercially. The tribal entity is active and known in the community. Administrative staff have demonstrated they can effectively manage tribal grants, contracts, and facilities.

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.
No Utility facilities have not suffered any major problems/outages due to management issues that are unresolved.
No 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.
No The utility has completed and distributed its "Consumer Confidence Report".
No 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 community currently does not have public water or wastewater systems. Residents rely on private wells and septic tanks, so there has been no need to meet water quality and operator certification requirements. NVPH currently has no experience operating utilities.