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

Jeremy Johnson  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Water Systems 
Agreement Date:
Too-gha, Incorporated 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
Water and sewer utilities are operated by Too'gha, Inc., a non-profit utility board. Water is derived from a well near the Yukon River, and a watering point is available. In 1970, 55 individual wells were drilled, but due to permafrost and poor water quality, the project essentially failed. Most residents hauled their own water from the washateria and used privies and honeybuckets. In 1976, a piped water and sewer system was constructed to serve the Tanana Hospital, clinic, Regional Elders Residence, and the Tribal Council building. A new washateria and water treatment facility was constructed in 2001 and opened to the public in early 2002. As part of an on-going project, piped water/sewer service is currently available to approximately 58 customers including the school, four public facilities, several commercial units, and residential customers. The community is seeking additional funds to provide water/sewer services to residents not served by the existing water/sewer system. The landfill uses an incinerator, and provides recycling services. Tanana Power Company provides electricity. In November 2007 two wood burning boilers, to provide a supplemental source of heat, was installed at the water/sewer utility, although, there have not yet been used. Solar panels were recently installed on the roof of the washateria to provide a supplemental source of electrical power. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
RUBA staff has not made a site visit this quarter but have maintained contact via phone, fax, and email with Ms. Nicholia who, in conjunction with the Tanana Tribal Council, is fulfilling the Too'gha office manager responsibilities. Additionally, Mr. Ketzler (Tanana city manager and Too'gha board member) provides updates when he makes periodic visits to the RUBA office. Fairbanks RUBA staff made a site visit in November 2007 primarily to attend a Too'gha board meeting and listen to a presentation from Alaska Rural Utility Collaborative (ARUC); Too'gha is considering joining ARUC. Too'gha is also in process of applying to the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA)for a Provisional Certificate. Staff maintains communication with State of Alaska, Village Safe Water Project Engineer.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff will monitor and assist as needed.
Essential Indicators:
27 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
20 of 26
Total Score:
47 of 53


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.
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.
Yes The utility is receiving revenues (user fees or other sources) sufficient to cover operating expenses.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility is receiving revenues (user fees or other sources sufficient to cover operating expenses and Repair & Replacement (R) costs.
Yes YTD revenues are at a level equal to or above those budgeted.
Yes YTD expenditures are at a level equal to or below those budgeted.
Yes A monthly manager's report is prepared.
N/A Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
The utility operates on a federal fiscal year (October 1 through September 30.)

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.
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

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
Alaska Department of Labor states that everything is 'ok'. The IRS provided documentation (on March 18th, 2008) that Toogha should have received first notices for a balance due for the 3rd qtr 2007 and also owing a very small balance for the 4th qtr 2007. Historically, Too'gha has a good record of tax filings and this is not a major concern to RUBA staff.

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.
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.
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

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.
Yes The policy making body meets as required.
Yes The utility complies with the open meeting act for all meetings.
Organizational Management Comments
The policy making body has been taking an active role in addressing management issues. The utility manager and bookkeeper resigned on December 1, 2007; Ms. Nicholia and Ms. Erhart (both with the Tribe) are undertaking the duties of the Too'gha office manager. Based on phone contact and written letters the Tribe is adequately trained in fulfilling the duties. The only areas of concern are 1. the lack a utility manager and/or plant manager and 2. lack of direct oversight for the water plant operators. With out an immediate supervisor, control of operator hours actually worked, or overtime hours authorized, will be difficult to maintain; the effect on the budget may be large.

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.
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.
Yes The utility maintains a critical spare parts list.
Operation of Utility Comments
Tanana is on the SNC list for a surface water and Stage 1 violations: the earliest it can return to compliance is July 2008. Phone conversation with Department of Environmental Conservation indicates that, recently, the turbidity looks good, as well as sampling, that October and November operator reports are good. The operator only has a Water Distribution and Water Treatment Provisional Certificate; phone conversation with a Remote Maintenance Worker indicates the need to have a fully certified operator.