Quarterly Report: 2008, April - June (Q4), Circle

Leroy Seppilu  
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:
After postponing several trips due to the 1st chief of the Circle Traditional Council extensively traveling, Fairbanks RUBA staff managed to make it to the community to work with the tribal council on the sanitation issues identified on October 2007 RUBA Assessment. Fairbanks RUBA staff met with the 1st Chief, Larry Nathaniel and the council to discuss the RUBA assessment. The tribe has a $2.6 million sanitation project on hold until all the essential and sustainable indicators identified in the RUBA assessment are met. On the second day of the site visit, RUBA staff met with the Tribal Administrator to discuss the washeteria/water treatment plant issues. A reveiw of the washeteria revenues and expenditures was done and a draft annual budget was prepared. It was discovered that the estimated revenues from user fees was $27,000 and the exxpenditures were $57,000. Options to balance the deficit were explored, including raising rates for wataer sale to the school and charging individuals that use large amounts of water. Currently, residents fill up to 500 gallon tanks for free from the watering point and self-haul. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff still has difficulty making contact with the 1st chief and the acting tribal adminstrator. RUBA staff hopes to travel to the community at least two more times to assist the tribe meet the essential and sustainable indicators.
Essential Indicators:
14 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
14 of 27
Total Score:
28 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
The Tribe is planning to open up a general bank account since the IRS has given back the tribe's current checking account. The tribal administrator had not been able to make financial reports or budgets due to this issue. Fairbanks RUBA staff worked with the acting tribal administrator to figure out what it costs the tribe to run the washeteria and provide water to the community. Based on the financial information provided by the acting administrator, we calculated the annual expenses for the washeteria total at least $57,000 and revenues from water sales to the school, shower and washer token sales come up to about $27,000. We made an estimate to raise the revenues. The tribe could charge the school district at least $36,000 a year from the current $18,000 a year. There are individuals that currently get free water for at least 500 gallons a week. If those users are charged $25 for every 100 gallons, the revenues would total at least $10,800 a year. Then the Tribe can raise the token sales $0.25 a token to $2.75 a token from the current $2.50 a token, the annual token sales will be $7,500 from $6,000. Shower use would still be at least $3,000 a year. The total revenues would come up to at least $57,300 a year. A sample annual budget for the washeteria was provided for the council to consider.

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.
No 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 currently has only one customer and has 100% collection from them. The tribe sells treated water at $1,800 a month to the local school. The Tribe is interested in having RUBA staff or someone provide training with Quickbooks Pro for the personnel after it gets its own general checking account. RUBA staff will provide basic QBP training once a tribal administrator is hired. All supplies and equipment to be purchased have to be approved by the 1st Chief.

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 encouraged the tribe to make effort to set up a payment plan with IRS to no avail. The IRS agent assigned to the community said she is still waiting for the call to set up the payment plan. There has not been any change with this issue.

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
There were no personnel issues during this quarter. The positon for the tribal administrator is still open.

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.
Yes 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 is still searching for a tribal administrator. There was one applicant, but the council decided to extend the advertisement for the position at least two more weeks.

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.
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".
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
There have been no significant changes in the Operation of the Utility.