Nearly 700 people attended the 79th Annual Meeting of Farmers’ Electric Cooperative last Tuesday evening at the Gary Dickinson Performing Arts Center in Chillicothe.
The Member-Owners of the Cooperative re-elected three directors to serve three-year terms. Re-elected to the Cooperative’s seven-person Board of Directors were: District 2’s Leroy Kern (Caldwell and Clinton Counties), District 3’s Arzy Bisbee, Jr. (Ray County) and District 7’s W.D. Richards III (Chariton County).
The meeting began with the presentation of colors by the Chillicothe Public Safety Honor Guard Team, who then led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Board President Ron Cornett opened the meeting thanking Members for taking the time to attend the annual business meeting. General Manager, Rod Cotton welcomed Members and reminded them that the annual meeting is the time when their directors and Manager report to them about the operations and financial health of the Cooperative. He outlined the results of the Cooperative’s strategic planning process whereby the long-term direction of the Cooperative is reviewed by the directors and management. Key strategic initiatives include financially strong Cooperative, reliable electric service, skilled workforce and Member engagement.
He explained how the Cooperative had taken advantage of the low interest rate environment to refinance long-term debt that resulted in savings of nearly $4 million dollars in interest payments over 18 years. Manager Cotton indicated that no rate increase for residential Members was planned in 2017, although the cost of our wholesale power has increased just over 6% since our last residential rate increase in 2015. He discussed plans to construct a new warehouse, which was decided upon by the directors after a thorough assessment of our existing facilities. He also noted that in 2016 the Cooperative retired just over $1.2 million dollars in capital credits, the largest retirement in 79 years.
Farmers’ Electric has retired over $22 million in capital credits to its Members since the Cooperative was organized in 1938. Dana Macoubrie, the Cooperative Attorney, conducted the election of the Board of Directors and the election of the 2018 Committee on Nominations. Elected to the Committee on Nominations were Charlotte Miller, Richard Halterman, John Finley, Dennis Farmer, Dennis Widhalm, Kenneth Lee and Judy Holcer, representing each of the Cooperative’s seven districts.
Forty-eight prizes were given away at the conclusion of the business meeting, plus two grand prizes. Leroy and Beverly Hapes of Chillicothe won a $500 bill credit from Farmers’ Electric Cooperative. Hank and Becky Koontz of Independence won a 32” Smart T.V. Youth names were also drawn for two remote controlled monster truck toys. The winners were Hayes and Harlow Anderson, both of Dawn.