Missouri Rural Electric Cooperative’s (MREC) 81st Annual Meeting was hosted Saturday morning, Sept. 16, at the Palmyra High School Gymnasium.

Missouri Rural Electric Cooperative’s (MREC) 81st Annual Meeting was hosted Saturday morning, Sept. 16, at the Palmyra High School Gymnasium.

Approximately 450 people were in attendance, with a total of 296 members being registered to conduct the business of the Cooperative.

A prompt attendance prize was awarded to Henry Potterfield of Palmyra, who won the electric barbecue grill given by the Cooperative. Vice President Joseph Swisher offered the invocation. The Pledge of Allegiance was then recited in unison.

President Wright welcomed everyone to the Annual Meeting. He stated since 1936, the cooperative has been providing reliable, affordable and safe electricity — which has always been the top priority of this cooperative. The President quoted a verse from the Bible.

Treasurer Richard Disselhorst reviewed the highlights of financial data that were printed in the program, specifically the Balance Sheet and the Statistics of Operation. He noted that 17.7 million dollars had been returned to the member-owners in the form of capital credits during the past 55 years. After asking for questions from the audience regarding the Cooperative’s financial condition, the report was approved as submitted.

General Manager/CEO Matt Hudson welcomed everyone and thanked them for coming to the 81st Annual Meeting. He also thanked everyone who helped put the meeting together. Hudson listed the three main reasons for the purpose of the Annual Meeting. The manager reported Missouri Rural Electric is a very financially sound cooperative, noted $446,236 was returned this year to member-owners in capital credits, the long-term debt is $11.7 million and the Modified Debt Service Coverage is 1.79. He reported $17.7 million has been returned to the communities that the cooperative serves.

Hudson presented a copy of his electric bill, which indicated $3.94 was his average cost per day for electricity. He asked others to think about items they spend $3.94 a day on and gave examples of what he may spend this amount on daily. The manager compared these items to what you get when you purchase electricity for and what a bargain it is. He said he was happy to report we do not expect a rate increase in 2018. Hudson introduced each employee and thanked them and the Board of Directors. Hudson presented pictures of his two children.

Barry Hart, Executive Vice President and CEO of Association of Missouri Electric Cooperative (AMEC), announced it was his third time to speak during the MREC meeting, as he does at several of the 47 cooperatives over the state. He said it is important for the members to see how MREC stands in the whole country — keeping their rates being very affordable. Because of the continued right-of-way maintenance, you do not see as many outages in this area as other areas.

Hart noted MREC has had three of the top managers in the state working for them. He recognized Dan Nelson and Rich Donelson for their hard work and discussed the new manager, Matt Hudson. He also commended the employees of MREC for assisting in the worst storms in the state in 2007 and 2009. Hart discussed the clean coal power plants and applauded the members for doing their part in mailing cards and sending emails. He said he was happy to report the war on Missouri coal is over so the cooperative can continue to provide reliable, safe and affordable electricity.

President Wright presented a service award pin to Ross Frankenbach for 10 years of service as a Director. Wright announced Trent Gottman completed and will receive his Credential Cooperative Director (CCD) Certificate at the AMEC Annual Meeting in October. President Wright presented a clock to Rich Donelson, who retired as the General Manager/CEO on April 28.

Hudson presented service award pins to Ian Summers for 10 years of service, Andy Hudson for 15 years of service, Sue Bridgman for 20 years of service and Kyle Crowe for 40 years of service. The manager recognized former and current Missouri Rural Electric Cooperative employees and the Northeast Power employees in attendance.

There was a contested election in District #2 where Jerry Schoenborn was re-elected to serve a three-year term on the Board of Directors. In an uncontested election, Shon Haerr was re-elected to serve in District #1 and Butch Pennewell in District #3.

Following the business portion of the meeting, attendance prizes — which were furnished by dealers, manufacturers, and local businesses of the area together with the Cooperative — were given to members whose names were drawn from the registration slips. Two grand prizes of $250 in cash each were awarded to Melvin Gottman of Palmyra and Allen Massner of Maywood. The bicycle winners were Trista Gottman and Jacob Sea. The noon meal was served by C&R Market of Palmyra.