RUBA Community Status Report

Community Name: Newtok


Community:

Newtok

RUBA:

Yes

Staff:

Fred Broerman

Agreement:

Yes

DCA Region:

Bethel

Agreement Date:

Region:

Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta

Exp Date:

Govt Type(s):

Traditional Council

Borough:

Unorganized

Assessment Date:

Population:

329

Active Community:

Yes

Date Updated:

9/30/2013


Community Sanitation Overview:

Newtok, a village of approximately 354 residents is located between the Bering Sea and Baird Inlet along the north side of Ninglick River and with the Kealaver River surrounding the community like a horseshoe. The Kealaver and Ninglick rivers are eroding away the community's land base. The community is planning to relocate and rebuild facilities on higher ground at the Mertarvik site located on Nelson Island. A Master Plan is underway. The Newtok Traditional Council operates the water treatment plant which pulls surface water from a local pond. Water is provided free of charge from a single watering point outside the water treatment plant. From there, water is hauled for domestic use in various sizes of plastic containers. Treated water is stored in the community's only water storage tank which holds 211,000 gallons. The tank, however, does not store enough water to meet the community's needs throughout the year and water runs out mid-winter; residents are forced to cut and melt ice for water for personal use. In 2012, five 20,000 gallon water storage tanks were purchased and at the time of this writing are waiting to be connected to the water plant. The school has its own well and water treatment plant which is maintained by the Lower Kuskokwim School District (LKSD). The health clinic has two flush/haul tanks and uses water from the community water storage tank. Refuse collection is provided, and a new landfill has been completed, but DOT has determined that it is too close to the airport. Electricity is provided by Ungusraq Power Co. which is owned by the traditional council.

RUBA Status
and Activities
this Quarter:

An email request for documents needed to evaluate RUBA compliance was sent to the tribe on September 19, 2013. A consultant working for the tribe responded on September 19, indicating the traditional council was not ready to participate in the RUBA program. He indicated that the new tribal council was interested in elected officials training.

 

Capacity Indicator: Finances

Essential Indicators:

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.

No

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:

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.

N/A

Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.

Comment:

At the time of this writing the traditional council has not provided the Bethel RUBA office with a copy of its adopted FY13 budget. On August 13, 2012 the tribal administrator indicated that 3,000 gallons of heating fuel for the traditional council buildings and the clinic was delivered on July 21. The administrator thought it would be an adequate supply of fuel for the winter of 2012/2013. The traditional council owns Ungusraq Power Company, the community's electric company.

 

Capacity Indicator: Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators:

No

The utility has adopted a collection policy and actively follows it.

No

The utility bills customers on a regular basis.

No

An accounts receivable system is in place which tracks customers and reports past due accounts and amounts.

No

An accounts payable system is in place.

No

The payroll system correctly calculates payroll and keeps records.

No

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:

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.

Comment:

Newtok's traditional council owns the community's water plant. Water is provided free of charge to community members. Therefore evaluating RUBA Accounting Systems indicators is not possible for the community's water services. The traditional council also owns the community's electric plant enterprise, which could be evaluated for compliance with RUBA accounting standards. Since a RUBA assessment has not yet been conducted for the tribe, most of the indicators of this section have been marked 'No' until documents verifying compliance are provided.

 

Capacity Indicator: Tax Problems

Essential Indicators:

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.

N/A

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.

Comment:

An email correspondence from Alaska Department of Labor on September 24, 2012, indicated the community is current with its employment security compensation tax payments and deposits. Fax correspondence from IRS Taxpayer Advocate dated September 28, 2012 states that the tribe has no federal tax balances or information returns due. Newtok Traditional Council was not on the July - August 2012, Lien Watch report.

 

Capacity Indicator: Personnel System

Essential Indicators:

No

The utility has a posted workers compensation insurance policy in effect.

Sustainable Indicators:

No

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.

No

The utility has an adequate written hiring process.

No

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.

No

The utility provides training opportunities to staff as needed and available.

Comment:

A September 28, 2012 phone conversation with Alaska Department of Labor personnel in Juneau indicated the tribe has not had worker's compensation insurance for its employees since August 18, 2012. Since a RUBA assessment has not yet been conducted for the tribe, most of the indicators of this section have been marked 'No' until documents verifying compliance are provided.

 

Capacity Indicator: Organizational Management

Essential Indicators:

No

The entity that owns the utility is known; the entity that will operate the utility is set.

No

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.

No

The utility has adopted the necessary ordinances (or rules and regulations) necessary to give it the authority to operate.

Sustainable Indicators:

No

The utility has adopted an organizational chart that reflects the current structure.

No

The policy making body meets as required.

No

The utility complies with the open meeting act for all meetings.

Comment:

Since a RUBA assessment has not yet been conducted for the tribe, most of the indicators of this section have been marked 'No' until documents verifying compliance are provided.

 

Capacity Indicator: Operation of Utility

Essential Indicators:

No

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:

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.

No

Utility facilities have not suffered any major problems/outages due to management issues that are unresolved.

No

The utility is operating at the level of service that was proposed.

No

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.

Comment:

Since a RUBA assessment has not yet been conducted for the tribe, most of the indicators of this section have been marked 'No' until documents verifying compliance are provided. The tribe's 2012 Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) and a certification form signed by the tribal administrator on June 28, 2013 indicating the CCR has been posted and distributed in the community are electronically filed at the Bethel Regional Office. The tribe's water treatment plant is on the July 2013 Significant Non-Complier (SNC) list.

RUBA Activities for the Coming Quarter:

Bethel RUBA staff is available to assist the community in meeting essential and sustainable indicator compliance.