Orange County REMC hosted their 2022 annual meeting on Friday, June 3. The meeting was located at the co-op's location north of Orleans in Highway 37. There were 347 members registered at the meeting and total attendance was approximately 662 individuals when including family members.
Orange County REMC members were greeted at the registration table and received a gift bag which included a REMC Maglite. Members were treated to a Schnitzelbank catering which included fried chicken, smoked brisket, mashed potatoes, green beans, baked beans, coleslaw, and biscuits. Attendees heard live music by Kirby Stailey during mealtime. Several activities such as a bounce house, obstacle course, and face painting were available to the children during the meeting.
Matt Deaton, CEO/General Manager, introduced the board of directors which included Daniel Houchin (district 1), Randy Roberts (district 2), Danny Easterday (district 3), Rodney Hager (district 4), Ben Lindsey (district 5), Brain Hawkins (district 6), and George Key (district 7). Brian Hawkins gave the secretary/treasurer report. Watch the financial review video here. Attorney John Paul Isom gave an explanation of the voting procedures and announced there were no other nominations for district 2, 5, and 7; therefore, Randy Roberts, Rodney Hager, and George Key were elected to another 3 year term as Directors for Orange County REMC.
George Key, president, spoke about the retirement of capital credits. George announced this will be the 6th consecutive year the board has approved to retire capital credits. Last month, the board approved the retirement of the most capital credits at one time, retiring the years 1967 through 1971. This retirement will give back over $542,572 to those that had electricity from 1967 through 1971. The retirement of capital credits is simply the co-op returning a portion of your investment that you have in the co-op back to you. George then shared a video that speaks of how our industry is changing and how it can better serve you in the future.
Matt Deaton provided the members with an update on the fiber project. Matt announced Orange County Fiber finished the build to all Orange County REMC members last year and has also completed the builds in the Towns of Orleans, Paoli, and parts of Marengo. Matt said Orange County Fiber has nearly 6,500 households connected to the network. Matt thanked the members who believed in the fiber project and took the service.
Matt also took time to expand on industry trends and how that affects the co-op in the short term. He spoke on the cost increases over the past 6 months related to the generation and transmission of electricity. The price of coal, natural gas, and gasoline all have increased. Inflation now over 8%, supply chain distributions, environmental pressures on the power sector, Russia's invasion of Ukraine, all play a role in the increases. Matt announced members will see the Power Cost Tracker increase in July's bill resulting in the average member's monthly bill go up $3.63. Matt then talked about the repeal of the utilities receipt tax which will be reduced by 1.4%, providing a little relief by reducing a member's bill, on average, $1.93. Matt recognized we are living in trying economic times and said the Cooperative will only ask the very least it needs to get through.
Matt Deaton recognized the employees who have hit milestones in their careers. Amos Murphy (5 years of service), Zach Motsinger (5 years of service), Lorena Lindsey (10 years of service), and Marcy Bennett (25 years of service).
The meeting concluded with 49 prize drawings donated by businesses and 2 grand prizes donated my Orange County REMC. The businesses who donated are: American Energy Services, Babcock Motors, Ben Franklin/Ace Hardware, Brownstown Electric Supply, Callnet, CommScope, Consistent 7, LLC, ElectriCom, Federated Rural Electric Insurance, FiberSmith, Galloway Group, HD Graphix, Hoosier Hardware, Indiana 811, Millennium, Monroe Shoe, NISC, P&C Contracting, Power & Tel, Pro Tree Care, Rainbow Printing, Red Bud Supply, Inc., Springs Valley Bank & Trust, Stanisfer Electronics, Sterlite, United Utility Supply, Valley Electric, WBIW Z102, and Wright Implement.