Quarterly Report: 2008, October - December (Q2), Circle

Leroy Seppilu  
DCRA Regional Office:
Gov't Type:
Federally Recognized Tribe 
Agreement Date:
Circle Native Community 
Assessment Status:
Assessment Date:
Exp Date:
Last Updated:
Community Sanitation Overview:
Most homes haul treated well water from the washeteria/fire station or the school. Outhouses and honeybuckets are used for sewage disposal. All homes lack plumbing facilities. A feasibility study and master plan is underway to examine infrastructure alternatives. The landfill is located at mi. 156.5 Steese Hwy. Electricity is provided by Circle Electric Inc. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Fairbanks RUBA staff and a business utility advisor from the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium traveled to Circle on Oct. 30-31, 2007, to conduct a RUBA assessment. Numerous management indicators were found to be deficient. RUBA staff assisted the Tribe in initiating a payment plan with the IRS for past due tax liabilities. RUBA also called State of Alaska Division of Investments regarding properties taken from the tribe a few years ago to see if the Tribe can rent the former tribal office. Division of Investments requested a rental proposal that, if accepted, would allow the tribe to rent the office space until the properties are sold. The tribal administrator successfully completed a four day basic QuickBooks Pro training held on Nov. 5-9 in Fairbanks. The instructors were under contract with DCCED's RUBA program to provide the training.  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff plan a couple of trips in the next quarter to meet with the Tribal Council to determine what needs to be done to meet essential and sustainable indicators identified in a RUBA assessment. The 1st chief is willing to work with RUBA on meeting the indicators and we hope to have a RUBA agreement signed. I expect at least 3 trips to the community for RUBA work.
Essential Indicators:
12 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
13 of 27
Total Score:
25 of 54


Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No All revenues and expenses for the utility are listed in the utility budget.
No 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.
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.
No A monthly manager's report is prepared.
No Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
The Tribe does not make an annual budget for its utility or for the Tribe's departments as a whole. The Tribe does not administer any of its federal or state grants because of past problems with grants that resulted in loss of grant funds. All the grants are currently administered by the Tanana Chief's Council. The Tribe does not have a bank account due to IRS having frozen the their accounts for past due liabilities. The Tribe operates the washeteria with the sale of tokens for $2 each and $0.25 a minute for showers. The revenues average $400 per month and are used for operations and maintenance. The Tribe also sells treated water to the school at a flat rate of $1500 a month for 12 months per year. This revenue is passed through to TCC as part of the agreement for financial management. In turn, TCC pays for fuel and electric consumption. There are no monthly financial reports generated. The Tribe's fuel plan is the agreement with TCC for fuel to be provided.

Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No 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.
No The utility has a cash disbursement system that records how money was spent.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
No A chart of accounts is used that identifies categories in a reasonable, usable manner.
No 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 Tribe has a utility ordinance for the washeteria and water treatment plant. RUBA was unable to confirm that it was ever adopted. The Tribe bills one customer - the school. The school district encouraged the Tribe to bill it for for the water purchases for recordkeeping purposes. The water bills are manually generated and sent to the school district monthly.

Tax Problems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
No The utility has a system to accurately calculate, track, and report payroll tax liabilities.
No The utility is current on filing tax reports.
No The utility is current on making tax deposits.
No 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 significant past due tax liabilities. The Tribe will contact the IRS and negotiate a repayment plan. While on-site, RUBA assisted the Tribe in making the initial contact with IRS to discuss the issue. The Tribe is also behind on submittal of Employment Security Contributions (ESC) quarterly tax reports even though it is not required to pay the taxes. The Employment Division stated reports with zero balances must be signed and submitted.

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
All of the Tribe's personnel policies and insurance (limited to paid tribal staff) continue to be under the control of TCC.

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.
No The utility has an adequately trained bookkeeper.
No 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
A couple of vacant Tribal Council seats were filled recently and the previous first chief was re-elected. The city administrator was recently appointed and needs training, especially in tribal finances. The Tribe recently appointed a water plant operator and he will also need training.

Operation of Utility

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility operator(s) are actively working towards necessary certification.
No 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
A new water plant operator was hired in September 2007 and will require training. The Tribe is currently on the SNC list for Stage 1 violations. The new operator is working with the Remote Maintenance Worker to correct this.