Crawford Electric members approved a bylaw proposition and re-elected three incumbent directors during the business session of its 77th annual meeting of members Sept. 14.

The meeting also included lunch, entertainment and prize drawings for about 800 members and guests.

Earlier this year, only the incumbent directors filed nominating petitions to seek election to the co-op’s board of directors. Since they were unopposed, all three were re-elected by the membership in a floor vote at the annual meeting.

They are District 1 Director Janice Dorson; District 2 Director Debbie Willette, and District 3 Director Joe Cason, who will serve three-year terms.

Votes were cast using voting cards handed out to the 508 members who registered at the meeting.

The members also approved a change to the co-op’s bylaws that will allow for all voting members to be counted in future meeting quorums.

Before the change, only those registered members present in person at a meeting counted towards quorum, which is the minimum number of meeting participants required by state statute for co-op business to be conducted.

Now all members voting will be counted in the quorum calculation, as allowed for in state statute. This will include all members who cast their director ballots by mail, or possibly via electronic means in the future.

Bourbon High School senior Blake Beckett sang three songs, then led the crowd in the singing of the national anthem.

In the spring, Blake earned the title of champion, special talent at Missouri’s BETA Club Convention. He then took third place in the National BETA Club Convention this summer in Orlando.

Speakers

Board President Jim Cottrell conducted the business meeting. He discussed the board’s role in approving local work plans and noted that an electric distribution system needs nearly constant maintenance and improvements to remain effective and reliable.

Crawford Electric General Manager/CEO Anthony J. “Tony” Mallory told the membership about the co-op’s recent strategic planning efforts and discussed ideas to enhance safety and member satisfaction. He also talked about the past year’s financial results.

Mallory explained that a year of generally mild temperatures has translated into flat sales, meaning revenue is down. At the same time, several strong storms and increasing wholesale power costs have strained the budget in 2017.

He advised attendees that the co-op will need to raise rates in 2018. The exact amount and timing will be explained in future member newsletters.

Members also heard from John Richards, chief executive officer for the co-op’s power supplier, Sho-Me Power Electric Cooperative. He discussed how Sho-Me builds and maintains the substations and transmission lines that bring electricity to Crawford Electric’s service area.

Richards also introduced the Sho-Me linemen stationed in Cuba who respond to service needs in this area. Members had a chance to examine a mobile substation parked on a specially designed trailer next to the meeting venue.

Crawford Electric Cooperative is a member of Touchstone Energy, a national alliance of locally owned electric co-ops. Crawford Electric serves almost 20,000 meters along more than 3,000 miles of distribution lines in Crawford, Franklin, Gasconade, Washington and Dent counties.