Quarterly Report: 2012, January - March (Q3), Nelson Lagoon

Nelson Lagoon 
Brice Eningowuk  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Federally Recognized Tribe 
Agreement Date:
Native Village of Nelson Lagoon 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
Water is derived from a lake about 10 miles from Nelson Lagoon and is treated. Water storage capacity is 850,000 gallons. All homes are connected to the piped water system. Individual septic systems enable households to have complete plumbing. A new washeteria was completed in August 1999. The water system needs major improvements, including repair of the distribution system, replacement of about three miles of distribution line, and a new storage tank. There is no garbage collection service, but a landfill is available. Construction on a new water intake and a pump house is planned. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
On November 1, Anchorage RUBA staff traveled to Nelson Lagoon to conduct a RUBA management assessment for the Nelson Lagoon Traditional Council. The RUBA assessment is required by funding agencies to provide a new pumphouse and water line upgrade as the current pumphouse and water line are impacted by coastal erosion. Anchorage RUBA staff met with tribal staff to gather financial, accounting, personnel, organizational, and operational information. Information includes: chart of accounts, purchase details of the Ampy meters, accounts payable and receivable reports, water tariff, proof of posted worker's compensation insurance, draft job descriptions and operator certifications. The tribe does not have an adopted budget for the water, wastewater and electric cooperative to date. The initial assessment indicates that the tribe is meeting all essential indicators except for the adoption of a realistic budget and monthly financial reports in the financial section. The tribe also meets 17 of the 27 sustainable indicators.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff will followup to see if any of the recommendations have been implemented and maintain regular contact with community. RUBA staff will provide technical assistance as requested.
Essential Indicators:
21 of 26
Sustainable Indicators:
12 of 27
Total Score:
33 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.
Yes Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
The Nelson Lagoon Traditional Council has not adopted a utility budget for FY12. Monthly financial reports are given to the council as profit and loss statements that do not reference any budgetary information. The electric utility is subsidizing the water utility through the AMPY meter pre-pay system. The tribe received 30,180 gallons of diesel on July 10, 2011. The pumphouse, which is about 10 miles from the community, uses a day tank and gets fuel as needed for the small generator. As a FY12 budget has not been adopted, financial decisions cannot be made that are based on actual revenues and expenditures compared to budgetary amounts. There are no repair and replacement accounts or line items for repair and replacement in past budgets for the utility. The operator is considered the manager and reports to the council on an as needed basis.

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.
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 utility does not send out bills to customers as each customer is on the AMPY prepay system for water, wastewater, garbage and electricity. As the tribe uses the AMPY system, any accounts receivable is addressed with each payment the customer makes. An accounts payable system is in place and a report shows three companies are owed a total of $19,928. A cash receipt system is in place that provides the utility and customer receipts of every transaction from a log book. The chart of accounts for the electrical co-op was received and shows all bank accounts, receivables, assets, liabilities, equities and expense accounts for the electrical and water utilities. Bank reconciliations have not been done, but the utility is in the process of getting caught up on these. All financial decisions must go through the tribal administrator and are verbally reported to the council.

Tax Problems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility has a system to accurately calculate, track, and report payroll tax liabilities.
No The utility is current on filing tax reports.
Yes The utility is current on making tax deposits.
N/A 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 Nelson Lagoon Traditional Council bookkeeper uses QuickBooks to calculate, track and report on payroll tax liabilities. A fax from the IRS dated December 8, 2011, states that the Nelson Lagoon Traditional Council is compliant with federal tax deposits and has no record of a lien. The fax does state that the tribe is not compliant with federal tax filing. The Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Employment Security Division's report from December 20, 2011, states that the city is in compliance with state tax filing and deposits and is not on the September-October 2011 Lien Watch.

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.
No 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.
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 tribe has purchased workers compensation from Alaska National Insurance Company and has coverage from September 15, 2011, to September 15, 2012. The tribe adopted personnel policies in December 2010 that address employment limitations and classification of employees for all tribal employees. Performance evaluations are not conducted annually. Employee personnel files are kept in a locked cabinet at the tribal office that include an I-9, job application, and certifications acquired during tribal employment. There is no probationary period for tribal employees. Employee trainings are offered on an as needed basis due to financial limitations and final decisions regarding employee trainings are made by the tribal administrator.

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
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 Nelson Lagoon Traditional Council adopted the Nelson Lagoon Water System, Water Service Tariff on December 29, 2010, that complies with the Alaska Regulatory Commission's requirements for operating a water utility. The tribe is active in making and enforcing the policies for the utility. The utility operator is considered the manager for the tribe and has certification in water treatment and distribution adequate for the utility. The bookkeeper has been to the QuickBooks training hosted by RUBA. Tribal staff is encouraged to seek training opportunities, but due to travel costs, trainings are at the discretion of the tribal administrator and council. There is no organizational chart, bylaws or constitution as the tribe is recognized as a traditional council with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and is not required to have these in place. Meetings are posted at the tribal office, post office and clinic three days prior to meetings.

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.
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.
No 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 water operator is certified in water treatment Level 1 that expires on December 31, 2013 and has a provisional water distribution certificate that expires on December 31, 2012. There are two operations and maintenance manuals for the water treatment plant and a new pumphouse manual will be provided when the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium completes the construction phase. The operator is trained in maintaining the pumphouse and water treatment plant and routinely 'spot checks' both facilities. Safety meetings are not conducted by the tribe. There have been no major outages with the utility due to management practices. The level of service is adequate to the facility and community needs. Management reports are given to the council when needed. The CCR has not been distributed to customers; however the utility is not on the current January 2012 SNC list. There is no inventory control list or critical spare parts list for the utility.