Over 500 people, representing 352 households and businesses attended Minnesota Valley Electric
Cooperative’s 80th Annual Meeting at Shepherd of the Lake Church in Prior Lake the evening of Tuesday, April 4.
All three incumbents were returned to the Board of Directors for three-year terms.
In District I, Brent Lawrence of Credit River Township received 65% of the vote with 643 votes, while challenger Barbara Marschall of Prior Lake received 339 votes.
In Districts II and III, Michelle Morrison of Faxon Township and Fran Barten of New Prague were unopposed with 1,003 and 1,581 votes respectively.
Lawrence and Morrison retained their positions on the board as president and secretary/treasurer, while Kevin Gibbs of Le Center will remain as vice president.
Revisions to MVEC’s Articles and Bylaws were approved overwhelmingly with 3,060 yes and 288 no votes cast. Changes include approving the cost-saving measure of not sending and mailing ballots for uncontested elections, allowing the option for electronic voting, and other items that bring the Articles and Bylaws current and in compliance with electric cooperative standards and Minnesota statutes.
General Manager Ryan Hentges gave a presentation on An Industry and Cooperative in Transition, which focused on changes in technology and the evolving energy market, which is seeing an increase in wind generation and natural gas, as well as a reduction in coal generation.
Hentges said the co-op’s Board of Directors and employees continue to focus on four key areas: safety, reliability, financial strength and member satisfaction. New green energy options are being developed and will be announced to members later this year.
Gerry Mareck, vice president of finance, gave a 2016 financial review and concluded the co-op had another solid year while maintaining competitive rates within the area and ranking 13 percent below the national average.
The co-op has kept local spending flat and at the same time has returned over one million dollars in Capital Credits to members for three years in a row.
The annual meeting also featured scholarship presentations, funded by MVEC’s unclaimed capital credits. In all, 15 $1,000 scholarships were awarded to area high school seniors. MVEC’s wholesale power provider, Basin Electric Power Cooperative of Bismarck, also awarded a $1,000 scholarship.
Prior to the meeting, MVEC members had the opportunity to tour two additional facilities at Shepherd of the Lake’s campus: McKenna Crossing Senior Living and the River Valley YMCA. All three facilities are MVEC business members.