All who attended to celebrate our 80th Annual Meeting of Members enjoyed a pancake, egg and sausage breakfast provided by Chris Cakes of O’Fallon, Mo. Members also had the opportunity to watch a Live Line Demonstration and attend the business meeting.
Premeeting activities for the children included a petting zoo, bounce houses, balloon artists and pole climbing display, plus members could get their picture taken with a Clydesdale horse.
Each membership attending received a $20 bill credit, which will be issued on the July 1 billing, along with the free breakfast.
During the business meeting, members were informed about the organization’s financial condition, and the co-op re-elected three area men to the board of directors. They were Richard Hollis, north district; Larry Kraft, central district; and Richard Liefer, south district.
President/CEO Alan Wattles addressed the audience and discussed the beginnings of MCEC and the co-op model.
“A co-op is member-owned, we are owned by the members we serve,” Wattles said. “We all have an equal share, as in one member – one vote. When the co-op does well financially, as in positive margins, these are allocated back to members as capital credits…. MCEC has had a long history of repaying capital credits, totaling more than $6 million to date. That’s our difference, we give back to the ones we serve.”
Board Chairman Richard Liefer discussed the strategic plan for MCEC. He described how safety is a priority for employees and the community, member engagement, the co-op’s commitment to the community through grants and scholarships, and employee development and training.
“Why the success? Pretty simple really,” Liefer said. “Co-ops are about people, board and employees alike with caring attitudes willing to give of themselves to improve relationships.”
It was reported that MCEC had a good year financially. In 2017, MCEC ended the year with positive margins of $1,312,141. MCEC had operating margins of $577,421, and the balance of the non-operating margins received were assisted by an allocation from the co-op’s power supplier Southern Illinois Power Cooperative (SIPC) of $542,288. For 2017, MCEC returned a total of $274,906 in capital credits to its members and expect to return approximately $250,000 in 2018.
“The great diversity of our weather patterns from year-to-year can create rather large peaks and valleys in our income,” Liefer said. “Tied with that is the fact that approximately 85 percent of our expenses are fixed and need to be paid regardless of current financial status.” Liefer said that MCEC staff manages this well and always searches for ways to become more financially stable from year to year.
In closing, Wattles said, “I would like to acknowledge and thank you, the members, for coming today. Bylaws require us to have an annual meeting to conduct the business of the co-op… I hope you see this as a duty to be here and take pride in the co-op that serves you just as we, the board of directors and employees, take pride in serving you.”