Members of all ages enjoyed themselves at Shelby Electric Cooperative’s 80th Annual Meeting held Friday, June 8 at the Shelby County 4-H Fairgrounds in Shelbyville. Balloon animals, face painting, bounce houses and more delighted youngsters. Others enjoyed the barbeque pork chop dinner, provided by the Pork Producers of Shelby County, while being entertained by The Hood Family Band and Live Line Demo, Inc.
At 1 p.m., members gathered to hear updates and information regarding the health of their cooperative during the business meeting. Board Chairman Brent Lively explained how co-ops are truly a grassroots movement and Shelby Electric serves only around 4 members per mile. He added how the board of directors is very careful with how they spend funds. Lively said the directors heard the story of another cooperative lineman who was severely injured, “The board of directors passed a resolution this year that says we will not ever say no to any expenditure that promotes safety.”
Lively reported how Shelby Electric promotes the cooperative principle of commitment to community. The co-op has been able to obtain a USDA zero-percent interest loan in order to give a REDLG loan to Pana Community Hospital for $1 million. “While the hospital isn’t one of our members, it helps our members and we are committed to supporting them. As the hospital pays the money back, we will take $300,000 of it to use as seed money to loan to other businesses in our area.”
In closing, Lively encouraged members to get involved in the democratic process of the co-op by running for a seat on the board of directors.
Shelby Electric President/CEO Josh Shallenberger paid homage to the original founding board members and all who governed the cooperative over its past eight decades.
“Over the years, Shelby Electric has extended our original core mission of providing safe, reliable electricity at an affordable price into other areas that have enhanced your quality of life,” said Shallenberger. “Shelby Energy, the co-op’s propane distribution and whole-house generation subsidiary is celebrating 25 years in business and PWR-net, our broadband internet division, is embarking on 10 years. All of this has been done because of the needs of our members and these services complement our core mission.”
Shallenberger said that Shelby Electric recognizes its job “not to hamper innovation, but to embrace it all while being mindful of its fiduciary responsibilities to members to ensure current investments provide returns.”
Safety is taken very seriously at the cooperative and Shallenberger noted its importance in getting all employees home safely each night. He explained the co-op’s commitment to a safety improvement plan and how employees have embraced it.
Board Treasurer Mark Lash reported the cooperative had margins of $3,438,854 for the year ending December 31, 2017. Total income was $36,019,456 and expenses, including $20,940,118 for the purchase of electric power, were $35,180,617.