Quarterly Report: 2008, January - March (Q3), Venetie

Leroy Seppilu  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Federally Recognized Tribe 
Agreement Date:
Village of Venetie-INACTIVE 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
Water is derived from a well near the Chandalar River, then treated and stored in a tank. The existing well has an interim permit pending determination of whether it is to be classified as groundwater or ground water under the direct influence of surface water (GWUDISW). A circulating system and septic tank system constructed in 1980 failed within two years of construction. The water transmission line froze last year, and the utility is still using 'fire hoses' on a portion of its water transmission line, until funding is available for a more permanent solution. Currently six homes and the health clinic are on a flush/haul system. A washeteria constructed in the early 1990's has 6 washers and six dryers, plus shower facilities. Electricity is provided by Venetie Village Electric. The washeteria also uses a small solar power system to provide some electricity. Construction of a new lagoon was completed in 2005, and it has been operating satisfactorily. There are plans for construction of a haul garage and for installation of 15 more water/sewer haul services. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Fairbanks RUBA staff made an on-site visit to the community at the request of the tribe. RUBA staff interviewed Eddie Frank, Tribal Administrator, for the Venetie Traditional Council. The Tribal Administrator fully cooperated with RUBA and provided all the necessary documents when it was available. The Venetie Traditional Council does not meet all essential and sustainable indicators at this time. RUBA staff will offer assistance in the areas of Finances. Accounting, Organizations and Operations to correct deficient indicators.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
With the RUBA assessment findings, these bullets are recommended to the tribe by RUBA staff: 'Draft comprehensive utilities budgets for the Tribe with itemized revenues and expenditures 'Review revenues and expenditures to see if revenues cover the expenditures in all the utilities run by the Tribe. 'Review and actively collect accounts receivables. 'Inform the tribal council what is owed to the Tribe by all utilities customers 'Hire a utilities bookkeeper to work with the tribal administrator 'Develop a comprehensive monthly financial report for the utilities 'Obtain a computer for the tribal administrator and provide computer training 'Develop utility ordinances for all the tribally owned utilities These issues will take several months and the tribal administrator is willing to work with RUBA staff to address these issues.
Essential Indicators:
18 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
22 of 27
Total Score:
40 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.
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.
Yes A monthly manager's report is prepared.
No Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
RUBA partially reviewed the finances of the Tribe's electric utility. Currently, the Tribe does not make annual budgets for its finances. Most of the revenues are from federal grants. The Tribe's electric utility has a very high outstanding receivables from residential customers. The Tribal Administrator su[[lied a ball-park figure of at least $60,000, but RUBA was not able to confirm it. The tribe owns the electric utility and does not bill the other utilities run by the tribe. Fuel sales is also run by the tribe and has to be air-freighted in at a substantially high cost. Chandalar River is too shallow year-round to barge the fuel in.

Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No The utility has adopted a collection policy and actively follows it.
Yes 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
No 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
As is with most traditional councils, the Tribe does not have formal written policies, including for electric, washeteria and water plant utilities. We were not able to confirm exactly how much is owed to the utility by the residential customers, although the customers are billed regularly on a monthly basis, but is in the thousands. The Tribal Administratr has extensive experience with payroll, payroll records and payroll taxes. Checking accounts are kept manually and monthly bank reconciliations are also done manually.

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 Tribal Administrator has managed to pay off the past due taxes owed to IRS from the past. Payroll tax reports are done manually by the Tribal Administrator. The IRS deems Venetie compliant at this time.

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 Tribe has insurance and workers compensation coverage through Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC), Inc., and also uses TCCs personnel policies and procedures.

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.
No The policy making body enforces utility policy.
Yes The utility has an adequately trained manager.
No The utility has an adequately trained bookkeeper.
Yes 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 Tribe does not have utility ordinances for all their utilities they operate. The Tribal Administrator has very strong financial management experience but has no computer experience. The Tribe needs to hire a bookkeeper to offset some of the duties and responsibilities of the Tribal Administrator since he is overwhelmed most of the time with work.

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
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.
Yes The utility maintains an inventory control list.
Yes The utility maintains a critical spare parts list.
Operation of Utility Comments
The utility operator is scheduled to attend the next Provisional 1 (formerly OIT) training.