Quarterly Report: 2009, October - December (Q2), Nanwalek

Tammy Helms  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Federally Recognized Tribe 
Agreement Date:
Native Village of Nanwalek 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
Water is derived from a surface stream and is treated; a new surface water source is under development. Nanwalek has a piped water and sewer system which serves all homes in the village; most are completely plumbed. The village needs a larger water storage tank, new water and sewer mains, new fire hydrants, and a landfill expansion. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
On December 15, 2008 RUBA staff traveled to Nanwalek with Remote Maintenance Worker Steve Evavold to attend a tribal council meeting and address deficient RUBA management indicators with the council. The RUBA management assessment is a condition of a sanitation project funded by the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC). The project engineer has given the community until early in 2009 to meet all indicators or the project may be canceled. Mr. Evavold informed the council that the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) was planning to enforce a compliance order by consent (COBC) on the tribe soon. Mr. Evavold explained the repercussions of the order and that the tribe should immediately begin working with ADEC staff to resolve the issue. RUBA staff then presented to the council the RUBA report and addressed the four unmet essential management indictors. In November, the council adopted a new water/sewer rate schedule. The administrator acknowledged that the schedule is unclear and requested assistance in reviewing and revising the schedule. RUBA staff assisted with revisions, which will be presented to the council at the next meeting.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff will continue to work with the Nanwalek IRA Council as requested to assist them in meeting all of the unmet management indicators.
Essential Indicators:
23 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
18 of 27
Total Score:
41 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.
No A monthly manager's report is prepared.
Yes Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
Recently the Nanwalek IRA Tribal Council created and adopted an FY09 water/sewer budget. The bookkeeper stated that the delay was caused by waiting to see what federal programs might be cut before he started drafting the FY09 budget for the council. He also stated that the budget would most likely have to be amended. Currently the bookkeeper is not presenting a budget vs. actual report to the council. Although the bookkeeper did state he does prepare and submit to the council a report of profit and loss by class. The Housing Authority manages the fuel sales for the community. The bulk fuel facilities consist of a 24,000 gallon diesel tank and a 12,000 gallon gas tank, which are kept with an adequate supply of fuel year round. Nanwalek IRA Tribal Council receives IHS funds by-passed through Chugachmiut. The tribe uses those funds to subsidize the water and sewer enterprise. The bookkeeper provided profit and loss reports that identified sufficient income to cover operating expenses for the utility.

Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No The utility has adopted a collection policy and actively follows it.
No 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 tribe has adopted a collection policy but does not actively follow it. Although not all of the homes have curb stops that allow disconnection, some of the homes do, and are not being disconnected for non-payment. Until recently, customers were being billed by the ANTHC billing program. Due to lack of payments, ANTHC discontinued the service and customers have not been billed since that time. However, a few customers continued to pay monthly and those payments were tracked through the QuickBooks accounting system that the tribe utilizes. This system is used for both accounts receivable and accounts payable. When supplies are needed for the utility, the operator notifies the bookkeeper then submits a check request to the administrator, who in turn either approves or denies the request. Any purchase exceeding $5,000 must be pre-approved by the council.

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 tribe has signed a tax release form; the IRS and DOL responded that the tribe is currently compliant with all reports and deposits. All payroll is calculated and tracked; payroll tax liabilities reports are done through QuickBooks.

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.
Yes 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 Nanwalek IRA Tribal Council has a posted workers compensation insurance policy in effect from 3/21/08 to 3/21/09 with Liberty Northwest Insurance Corporation. The tribe reports that they follow their written personnel policy closely. They are currently updating and revising the written job descriptions for all positions. The probation period for a new hire is 90 days. Training opportunities to staff are provided as funds allow or opportunities by other sponsors come available.

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.
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 council meets monthly and is active in policymaking, although it is not always active in enforcing the policy. The bookkeeper was the prior utility operator and although he is not currently certified, he helps the current operator when necessary. This experience helps him in being knowledgeable and well versed in the utility in all aspects from billing to the obstacles the utility faces. The tribe does not have a certificated utility operator, although the current operator is trained to competently run the water system. The system is rated by the State of Alaska as a level 2 plant. Due to the hour requirements that a level 2 operator must submit to obtain that certification, Nanwalek cannot afford to pay the operator to meet the requirements. The utility has adopted an ordinance that authorizes it to operate. They have also received their Provisional Certificate from the Regulatory Commission of Alaska; however, tribal staff members were not aware that the water and sewer ordinance existed.

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".
No 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 Nanwalek IRA Tribal Council has applied for and has received their RCA Provisional Certification. In speaking with the Remote Maintenance Worker, Steve Evavold of Village Safe Water, there is a preventative maintenance plan for the existing system. The utility operator reports status verbally to the tribal administrator when there is a problem, when she foresees a problem, or when the system is running well. A CCR was completed for 2007 with the help of ANTHC. The utility does not meet all required drinking water regulations. The tribe is currently on the 8/8/08 SNC list for Stage One violations and monitoring violations for SWTR. The utility operator and council try to keep needed critical spare parts on hand but supplies and parts are not recorded on a written list.