Quarterly Report: 2006, April - June (Q4), Chignik Lake

Chignik Lake 
John Nickels  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Federally Recognized Tribe 
Agreement Date:
Chignik Lake Village 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
Well water is piped directly to 32 households. An old wood staved storage tank has been dismantled and a large steel storage tank has been constructed farther from the community, at a higher elevation and close to a series of new wells. As part of the project, a new water treatment facility will also be built. The school has its own well. Approximately 70% of the homes are plumbed. Fifteen HUD homes are connected to a central sewer system with a waste pump and lagoon; the remainder use individual septic systems. Funds have been provided by VSW to develop a water and sewer Master Plan. Refuse is disposed of by residents in the new landfill. Chignik Lake Electric Utility has been generating power only during the summer months and in winter, electricity was purchased from the School District. A power consolidation project was recently finished that generates power year-round from the school district owned equipment, and is distributed to the community by Chignik Lake Electric. IGAP is funding a project to install Powerstat prepay electric meters in the village, which should be complete in January 2006. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
RUBA staff has been assisting Chignik Lake, who has a new administrator and a private consultant hired to complete annual reports for the electric utility that are required by the RCA and apparently have never been filed. Those reports have recently been finished and submitted to the RCA. Attempts to verify if the budget and financial reports, including an accounts payable report adopted earlier this year, are being presented regularly to the council have been unsuccessful. Since there has been turnover on the council and there is a new administrator, a letter was written by RUBA staff to the new council president offering assistance in maintaining those changes made to satisfy essential indicators that are part of a required assessment. The clerk responded later by phone inquiring about the changes made, and was not aware of the budget or report formats developed earlier. RUBA staff has been unable to contact her by phone since then.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff will continue to provide assistance to the community staff as they work to improve the management of their utilities. Progress on the remaining sustainable indicators will be monitored and encouraged.
Essential Indicators:
25 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
17 of 27
Total Score:
42 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.
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.
Yes 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 staff assisted in drafting a utility budget in October, 2005 for the current fiscal year, which was adopted by the village council January 4, 2006. Although anticipated utility customer revenues appear to be less than the utility expenses, sufficient additional revenue has been appropriated from other sources. An excel spreadsheet was created by the administrator to be used as a financial report to the council which incorporates month to date and year to date revenue and expense data with the FY-06 budget. A similar spreadsheet was created for reporting accounts payable to the council, however, in attempting to discuss these reports recently with the new tribal administrator, she was unfamiliar with them, and it seemed apparent that these financial reports are not being created for the council. Regarding sustainable indicators, in a letter received October 20, 2005, the administrator indicated her plan was to incorporate an R/R expense line item in future budgets, however it is unknown whether progress on other sustainable indicators has been made.

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.
No 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 Village Council Administrator, who is responsible for accounting functions, utilizes QuickBooks Pro accounting software. The utility is billing its customers regularly, and a system to track receivables is in place. All bills are sent seperately. There are significant amounts owed on many accounts to the utility, however steps to collect on these delinquent accounts are being taken by the Council. The administrator created a form in October to report accounts receivable to the council. This information was not being made available, and it is not known whether the new form/ report is being used. There is a Chart of Accounts, and the Administrator reports that monthly bank reconciliations are being done, however there is no purchasing system in place that utilizes any prior approval or coordination with a budget. Supplies and parts are reportedly ordered by the operator as needed and billed to the Village Council without prior approval from the Administrator.

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.
No 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
Village Council staff have informed RUBA that they are current with Federal and State reporting and tax payment requirements, however, the community's name appears on a list of outstanding federal tax liens dated 6/19/06. According to the list, the lien was recorded 2/16/06. In speaking with the current and past village administrators, RUBA staff has learned that this lien results from a contractor's errors in filing federal tax reports and making deposit payments during a road project in their community. The contractor was filing with the village's EIN, but had received grant funds that were to be used for, among other things, payment of road project payroll tax. The community feels that through no fault of there own, they have been left with this lien that should be paid by the contractor. They are now attempting to collect the total lien amount from the contractor.

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.
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
Worker's compensation insurance policy was secured February 15, 2006. The community has adopted employee policies and procedures, including a hiring process, job descriptions, and performance evaluations. The administrator reported in a letter received October 20, 2006 that written performance evaluations are now done for office staff, but not for the maintenance position. The administrator requested the council to evaluate this position, and it is unknown whether it was done, or if a probationary period for new hires is utilized. Personnel folders have been reportedly updated. Employment recruitment is done within the community first, as hiring locally solves the housing problem. When the need arises and an opportunity is presented, employees are encouraged to attend job-related training.

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 Chignik Lake Village Council owns and operates the community's utilities; they meet regularly, and have demonstrated an interest and willingness to adopt the necessary policies and rules to operate them. The village administrator has provided RUBA with an organizational chart showing all positions and programs within the village. In the area of utility rate collections,there is a large amount of overdue customer debt to the utility however, the council has recently discussed the problem and directed the administrator to implement a plan to confront non-payers and begin service shut-offs for those that don't respond. The administrator, who performs many of the day to day management tasks, as well as the clerk, have both received training in fulfilling requirements of the PCE program, however both positions would benefit from further training in utility management, and the QuickBooks program.

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
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".
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 administrator reported that the operator for the water/sewer utility is OIT certified. The utility appears to be operating at a level of service acceptable to the community with the operator providing routine verbal status reports to the administrator. The current CCR has been completed, the utility is not on the current SNC list, nor has the utility suffered any major problems due to management. The utility would improve its operation if there were monthly written O and M reports from the operator, and lists for inventory and critical spare parts were maintained. Safety would be enhanced with regular safety meetings and the implementation of a safety manual. The RMW visits regularly and the Bristol Bay native Association provides technical assistance as needed.