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Long Delayed Reimbursements Streaming into NJUS

Nome Joint Utility System Board Meeting agenda. July 16, 2014.

After severe delays, Nome Joint Utility System is being paid on projects stretching back over two years.

NJUS recently received it 2012 financial audit that found $1.5 million in grants and loans had not been claimed by the utility. By January of this year, those funds had still not been claimed. The monies mainly come from various Department of Environmental Conservation programs designed to reimburse project costs. But the utility system has to first request those funds to receive payment.

Michelle Drew is an accountant and partner with BDO, the accounting network conducting the audit. Speaking telephonically at last night’s NJUS Board Meeting, Drew explained the holdup: “So basically what was happening is the projects were being done. What was not happening was the actual sorting out of the project costs into the various funding streams and having the accounts receivable and the pay requests submitted to the granting agency in a timely manner.”

Drew said by not requesting reimbursement, the utility was not receiving grant and loan money and was prolonging the audit process itself.

John Handeland, Utility Manager, said NJUS is now applying for reimbursement and working to prevent the situation from repeating in the future.

“I’m happy to report,” Handeland said, “that all of the requests—I think absent one that we’re stilling working with USDA— are filed. Over half of them have been received. And rather than quarterly resubmittals on this, we’re working on trying to do them on a monthly submittal.”

Drew said the 2013 audit should be released within a month.