Quarterly Report: 2007, October - December (Q2), Tanana

Community:
Tanana 
Staff:
Andy Durny  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Water Systems 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
Too-gha, Incorporated 
Population:
281  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
1/23/2007 
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 washeteria 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 washeteria 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. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
During this quarter, RUBA staff traveled to Tanana November 6-8, 2006 to provide on-site training and assistance to the recently hired Too'gha administrative manager. Too'gha Inc. meets all RUBA essential indicators. RUBA staff provided QuickBooks and financial training, and helped prepare an FY 07 utility budget. Recent decisions by the utility board to raise utility rates and to reduce expenditures for insurance have helped to offset rising costs for fuel, electricity and wages. Significant challenges remain, but the utility board continues to be proactive in trying to address sustainability issues. During this quarter, RUBA staff also maintained contact via phone and email, providing information and assistance regarding rate setting, QuickBooks, financial reporting, personnel matters and general management 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Monitor and assist as needed. Provide additional on-site training to new administrator/bookkeeper.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
27 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
19 of 27
Total Score:
46 of 54

Finances

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.
No Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
The utility recently approved its FY 07 budget. Available starting balances for the FY 07 budget are sufficient to cover the difference between budgeted revenues and budgeted expenditures. The FY 07 budget includes a line item for repair and replacement. A temporary flat rate increase recently approved by the board seems adequate to meet the utility's current needs, but the board would like to implement a more equitable rate structure based at least in part on customer usage.

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
The utility has a good accounting system, but there is room for improvement. The new administrative staff lacks previous QuickBooks experience and could certainly use additional training. LGS/RUBA staff has nominated the Too'gha bookkeeper for QuickBooks training.

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
According to a phone check with IRS, the utility is current on filing its tax reports and deposits, although there is a small balance due IRS for the third quarter of 2006. According to a phone check with Alaska Department of Labor, the utility is current on its tax reporting and deposits to the Department of Labor.

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.
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
The utility has a personnel policy. The utility board recently hired a part-time administrator/bookkeeper. With the new hire, job duties and responsibilities have changed and need to be clarified. The utility has not performed employee evaluations.

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. An administrator/bookkeeper has been hired on a permanent part-time basis to help the utility deal with administrative and management issues. The new person will need training and assistance: in the meantime, the utility has adequately trained staff for management and bookkeeping. With the new hire, some changes in job duties and descriptions will be required and some changes in the organizational chart will be needed.

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
The utility has a qualified operator and assistant operator. The utility also has a trained alternate operator. The current operator/manager has a Water Treatment Operator in Training certificate, and is working to get additional certification. Tanana is on the 12-19-06 SNC list for a surface water monitoring violation.