Quarterly Report: 2009, April - June (Q4), Tanana

Community:
Tanana 
Staff:
 
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Water Systems 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
Too-gha, Incorporated 
Population:
258  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
8/10/2009 
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 activity this quarter with the utility has been phone and email contact with the bookkeeper and a State of Alaska Department of Education employee. The Department of Education was inquiring into the rates that the school pays for services. The school has financial shortfalls and is looking at ways to reduce costs. A rate increase will be discussed at the upcoming board meeting on July 6. 
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
Request A/P report. Contact them about the exisitng policys.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
21 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
18 of 27
Total Score:
39 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.
No Monthly financial reports are prepared and submitted to the policy making board.
No The utility is current in paying all water/wastewater electric bills.
No 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
Only July 31, 2009 the tribal clerk who manages the utilitys finances provided an A/R aging summary, balance sheet, and a profit and loss by class. RUBA requested a report which shows the expenses compared to the budget and suggested that the board receive that report at each meeting also. While the budget was passed and it is balanced on paper, the utility is not comparing the income and expenses to the budget, RUBA has requested that change on the reports at least twice, specifically on May 1 and then again on August 3, 2009. Based on the meeting minutes it appears that the board is meeting sporadically, the last two meeting were in May and then in July. The utility attempted to increase the price for washers and dryers but was not successful. According to the meeting minutes it will cost in the range of $1000 per machine to change the boards . According to the financial reports which were provided, the utility is operating at a financial loss for this fiscal year and coupled with the fact that the utility ended last fiscal year short $33,000 it will required a substantial amount of money to be in the black. At the July 7th board meeting the clerk was instructed to write a letter to the city requesting assistance in paying fuel bills, providing money, or any other ways to contribute. RUBA is unable to determine if the utility is paying all its bills, an A/P aging summary report would assist in this determination. A request will be made to the clerk. A verbal report from the operator was provided at the meeting and his comments are included into the minutes.

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
Based on the most recent board meeting minutes the utility is following its collection policy and disconnecting customers for non payment. Some customers are reconnecting the homes to water service and the utility wants to get large padlocks specifically for those customers. The meeting minutes state that the board would like an official policy to deal with this situation. RUBA has reviewed the existing Toogha Inc. Water and Sewer Rules and Regulations and determined they already have a policy to deal with this; RUBA staff will contact the utility to provide this. An accounts receivable system is in place and past due amounts are reportable; bills are mailed out monthly. Payroll is accurately calculated via QuickBooks and the accuracies are supported by both the IRS and DOL deeming the utility in compliance (see the following criteria). As is standard with the accounting program, incoming money and disbursements are accurately accounted for, the bookkeeper has a good chart of accounts in which to post transactions to.

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 IRS and Alaska Department of Labor deem Too'gha to be compliant.

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
The utility has a personnel policy and procedures manual which RUBA has evaluated and a copy is on file in the Fairbanks office. Job descriptions have been in existence since the utility was created and copies are also on file. New employees receive orientation and, according to the personnel manual, evaluations are done annually. The water operators take advantage of training opportunities and are current on the certificates necessary for producing clean water.

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.
No 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
After not meeting regularly it appears that the board is once again meeting and taking an active role in policy making. RUBA has copies of the last meeting in May and there is another meeting scheduled on July 6th. While not consistent, it is improvement. The board had voted on reducing operating costs, increasing user fees and reducing operator hours all of which indicate that the board is active.

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".
Yes 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 operator only has Water Distribution and Water Treatment Provisional Certificates; a phone conversation with a Remote Maintenance Worker indicates the need to have a fully certified operator.