From the Boardroom – September 2021

by Dion Cooper, President & CEO

The Board of Directors held meetings on September 27 to conduct its regular monthly Board Meeting to discuss and review several agenda items. During the meetings, they approved the Minutes of the last Board meeting and accepted the reports of the Attorney, President and Vice Presidents. In addition, Southwest Arkansas Telecommunication & Technology also held a regular Board Meeting.

SWAECC Agenda Items Reviewed and Actions Taken

Southwest Arkansas Electric Cooperative’s portion of CFC’s patronage capital retirement allocation and payment was $83,786.98.

The Board authorized the Cooperative to declare payable $5 million that includes portions of 1988, 1989 and 2020 allocated capital credits.

The President reported that the Cooperative received a payment of capital credits from AECI in the amount of $46,447.60 for allocations made in 2020, 1998 and 1999 and that AECI will pay $14.4 million in ERMCO common stock dividends divided equally between the distribution cooperatives. SWAECC’s share equals $504,007.

The Board reviewed and approved the Cooperatives 2021 Power Requirements Study Annual Update as prepared by Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation.

The President was selected to serve as the Voting Delegate for the Cooperative at the 2021 Touchstone energy Annual Electronic Business Meeting and Board of Directors elections scheduled for December.

The Board approved the new DOT Drug Testing Policy and made it a part of the Cooperative’s official Personnel Policy.

The Board authorized a contract between Service Electric Company and the Cooperative for Primary Construction at the De Queen and Lockesburg South Substations.

The Board reviewed the Cooperative’s IRS Form 990 prepared by Baird, Kurtz & Dobson and authorized the President to execute all documents.

Director Tommy Isbell was selected as the voting Delegate and Director Jim Alford was selected as the alternate voting delegate for the CFC Region 8 meeting in Dallas, Texas.

The Board approved 99 new member applications making the total number of members to date 18,751.

SWATT Agenda Items Reviewed and Actions Taken

The President presented several updates including future fiber installation, current pre-registrations for service, RDOF and the Arkansas Broadband Summit.

From the Boardroom – August 2021

by Dion Cooper, President & CEO

The Board of Directors held meetings on August 30 to conduct its regular monthly Board Meeting to discuss and review several agenda items. During the meetings, they approved the Minutes of the last Board meeting and accepted the reports of the Attorney, President and Vice Presidents. In addition, Southwest Arkansas Telecommunication & Technology also held a regular Board Meeting.

SWAECC Agenda Items Reviewed and Actions Taken

Amanda Strange, CPA of Baird, Kurtz & Dobson, discussed the Cooperative’s accounting records audit for the year ending September 30, 2021.

The Board of Directors authorized the Cooperative to employ a wage and salary consultant to update the Cooperative’s nonunion wage and salary schedule.

A payment for the Arkansas Public Service Commission dues was authorized for 2021

The Board reviewed the 2022 NRECA group employee benefit rates and authorized its renewal.

A payment for the NRECA annual dues was authorized.

The Board accepted the proposal submitted by MDR Construction Inc., for the 2021-2022 System Improvements Contract and authorized the one and one-half year contract with a maximum price of $1 million.

Changes to approved to the Cooperative’s FMLA policy to update the language for compliance with Federal guidelines.

The President reported that the Cooperative’s Retirement Security (RS) Plan contribution billing rate for 2022 increased 2.1% for group 001 and 0% for group 002.

The President reported that the Cooperative received a recognition from the Action Committee for Rural Electrification (ACRE) for 100% Board and Management participation in ACRE and for 100% Board membership in the Century Club.

The Board authorized the Cooperative to move forward with Phase II of its fiber project.

The Board approved 99 new member applications making the total number of members to date 18,745.

SWATT Agenda Items Reviewed and Actions Taken

SWATT doing business as Four States Fiber requested a Line of Credit  increase in the amount of $5 million from its parent company, Southwest Arkansas Electric Cooperative. The Cooperative approved the increase.

From the Boardroom – July 2021

by Dion Cooper, President & CEO

The Board of Directors held meetings on July 26 to conduct its regular monthly Board Meeting to discuss and review several agenda items. During the meetings, they approved the Minutes of the last Board meeting and accepted the reports of the Attorney, President and Vice Presidents. In addition, Southwest Arkansas Telecommunication & Technology also held a regular Board Meeting.

SWAECC Agenda Items Reviewed and Actions Taken

The President and Board Chairman were authorized to execute an agreement with Baird, Kurtz & Dobson, CPA, for auditing services for the Cooperative’s annual audit as of September 30, 2021.

The President reported that BKD filed an extension for the Form 990 and that it will be presented at a future Board Meeting.

The renewal of casualty insurance coverages including the All-Risk Blanket, Commercial Umbrella, Directors, Officers & Manager liability, Cyber Liability Protection and Fiduciary Coverage with Federated Rural Electric Insurance Exchange effective August 15, 2021, through August 14, 2022.

A payment was authorized to the Arkansas Rural Electric Self-Insurance Trust for the Cooperative’s Statutory Worker’s Compensation and Employer’s Liability for Employees.

The President presented an update of the Cooperative’s Affirmative Action Plan. The Board accepted the update and the Chairman and President were authorized to sign the update and all related forms and documents.

The Board accepted the AECC 2020 Residential Sales and Revenue Summary presented by the President.

Vice Chairman Warren Plyler and Director Jamie Stevens were selected as Voting and Alternate Voting Delegates, respectively, for the 2021 NRECA Region 8 meeting scheduled in Dallas.

The Board approved 106 new member applications making the total number of members to date 18,741.

SWATT Agenda Items Reviewed and Actions Taken

The President presented updates on the Arkansas Rural Connect Funding program and RDOF.

From the Boardroom – June 2021

by Dion Cooper, President & CEO

The Board of Directors held meetings on June 28 to conduct its regular monthly Board Meeting to discuss and review several agenda items. During the meetings, they approved the Minutes of the last Board meeting and accepted the reports of the Attorney, President and Vice Presidents. In addition, Southwest Arkansas Telecommunication & Technology also held a regular Board Meeting.

SWAECC Agenda Items Reviewed and Actions Taken

The President and Board Chairman were selected to represent the Cooperative as ERMCO Voting Delegate and Alternate Voting Delegate, respectively.

The President reported that Jace Reid of Nashville, Arkansas, was the 2021 recipient of the Cooperative’s Lineman Scholarship.

The Cooperative was authorized to increase funds for the Foreman Loop: Primary Construction project as recommended by Toth & Associates.

The President reported on its Investment Credit that changes annually on its Wholesale Power Bill.

Buddy Hasten, President & CEO of AECC/AECI presented an update on the Statewide Agency.

The Board approved 88 new member applications making the total number of members to date 19,378.

SWATT Agenda Items Reviewed and Actions Taken

The Board authorized the Cooperative to amend the officers on file with the Arkansas Secretary of State for Southwest Arkansas Technology and Telecommunications.

The Board authorized the change of officers on fil for the bank Signature Card of Southwest Arkansas Technology and Telecommunications DBA Four States Fiber.

From the Boardroom – May 2021

by Dion Cooper, President & CEO

The Board of Directors held meetings on May 27 to conduct its regular monthly Board Meeting to discuss and review several agenda items. During the meetings, they approved the Minutes of the last Board meeting and accepted the reports of the Attorney, President and Vice Presidents. In addition, Southwest Arkansas Telecommunication & Technology also held a regular Board Meeting.

SWAECC Agenda Items Reviewed and Actions Taken

The Board authorized the Cooperative to allocate 2020 capital credits in the amount of $6,958,139.

Chairman Russell Pendergraft was authorized as the NRECA Director representative for AECI and Vice Chairman Warren Plyler was authorized as the NRECA Director representative for AECC. President & CEO Dion Cooper was selected as alternate representative for both organizations.

The President reported that the Safety Magic Shows presented by Mr. Scott Davis to area school children for 2021 were presented on a social media platform. In 2022, Mr. Davis plans to make in-person presentations at the schools.

Information provided by Cooperative Finance Corporation on the Cooperative’s Semi-Annual Interest Payment was reviewed and accepted.

The Board authorized CFC to deduct 5% of the Cooperative’s 2021 Patronage Capital Refund, not to exceed $4,000, for the CFC Cooperative System Integrity Fund.

The Board approved a $500 contribution to the Nashville Chamber of Commerce’s “Stand Up for America” July 4th event.

The Board authorized the Cooperative to make changes to its Energy Resources Conservation Loan Program Policy.

The Board authorized the Cooperative to purchase 20 shares of $5,000 par value stock from SWATT for a total of $100,000.

The President was selected to serve as the voting delegate for CFC and NCSC at the annual meetings.

The Board approved 121 new member applications making the total number of members to date 18,903.

SWATT Agenda Items Reviewed and Actions Taken

The Board authorized the Cooperative to apply for a letter of credit to be issued by National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation (CFC) and authorized Board Chairman Russell Pendergraft, President & CEO Dion Cooper and CFO and Vice President Kecia Wolf to act on behalf of the Cooperative in regard to loans with CFC.

From the Boardroom – April 2021

The Board of Directors held meetings on March 27 to conduct its regular monthly Board Meeting to discuss and review several agenda items and to conduct the Annual Meeting of Members. During the meetings, they approved the Minutes of the last Board meeting and accepted the reports of the Attorney, President and Vice Presidents. In addition, Southwest Arkansas Telecommunication & Technology also held a regular Board Meeting.

SWAECC Agenda Items Reviewed and Actions Taken

Payment for the 2021 Property Taxes in the approximate amount of $1,476,719.25 were authorized.

The Board authorized a contribution of $1,000 to the NRECA International Foundation.

The President presented a report on the Cooperative’s Identity Theft Prevention Program and the Board reviewed and accepted the Privacy of Nonpublic Personal Information Policy.

The Board approved a lead sponsorship for approximately $2,000 to the Ash Grove Charity Golf Tournament for which all proceeds benefit the Arkansas Children’s Hospital.

The Board was reminded that Regular May meeting was moved to Thursday, May 27, 2021, because of the Memorial Day Holiday.

The Board approved a $500 contribution to the Nashville, Arkansas, Center Point Fire Department.

The President was authorized as Certifier with RUS for the Cooperative for submitting and certifying any and all data required by the Rural Utilities Service and in connection with FFB Loan Funds.

The Board Authorized the Cooperative to proceed with the Amendment 2 to the current construction work plan that includes the conversion of three-phase to three-phase 336 ACSR.

The Board approved 52 new member applications making the total number of members to date 18,867.

SWATT Agenda Items Reviewed and Actions Taken

The Board authorized the election of a 401(k) Pension Plan and benefit package for employees of the Cooperative’s subsidiary, Four States Fiber.

From the Boardroom – March 2021

From the Boardroom by Dion Cooper, President & CEO

The Board of Directors held meetings on March 27 to conduct its regular monthly Board Meeting to discuss and review several agenda items and to conduct the Annual Meeting of Members. During the meetings, they approved the Minutes of the last Board meeting and accepted the reports of the Attorney, President and Vice Presidents. In addition, Southwest Arkansas Telecommunication & Technology also held a regular Board Meeting.

SWAECC Agenda Items Reviewed and Actions Taken

The Board approved the charge-off of inactive accounts for November 2019 through October 2020 for accounts with balances greater than $0.00 and a discontinued date prior to September 15, 2019.

The Board accepted a Patronage Capital Cash Retirement of $7,424.62 from National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC).

Changes to the Construction Policy were reviewed and approved.

Changes were approved to amend the Cooperative’s Pole Attachment Agreement and Addendum to include the states of Texas and Oklahoma and the placement of attachments.

The Board approved 96 new member applications making the total number of members to date 18,838.

SWAECC Annual Meeting Items Reviewed and Actions Taken

The Membership elected Andy Youngblood to serve as the Director representing Polk County.

SWATT Agenda Items Reviewed and Actions Taken

The President introduced Marty Allen as the General Manager for Southwest Arkansas Telecommunications and Technology, Inc., DBA Four States Fiber.

SWATT Annual Meeting Items Reviewed and Actions Taken

Officers for Southwest Arkansas Telecommunications and Technology, Inc., were duly elected during the Annual Meeting of Stockholders.

From the Boardroom – February 2021

From the Boardroom by Dion Cooper, President & CEO

The Board of Directors held meetings on February 25 to conduct its regular monthly Board Meeting to discuss and review several agenda items. During the meetings, they approved the Minutes of the last Board meeting and accepted the reports of the Attorney, President and Vice Presidents. In addition, Southwest Arkansas Telecommunication & Technology also held a regular Board Meeting.

SWAECC Agenda Items Reviewed and Actions Taken

The Attorney reviewed the Director Duties and Standards of Conduct, Whistleblower and Conflict of Interest policies and the Board agreed that the Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form would be executed by all officials including the President and Vice Presidents.

The President presented information regarding the CFC Annual Officer’s Compliance Certification for the year ending December 31, 2020. The Board ratified the President’s completion of the certification worksheet and authorized the President to submit the certification.

The Board authorized the premium payment for the Arkansas Rural Electric Self-Insurance Trust.

The President reported that the 2021 Legislative Conference will be in a virtual format and is scheduled for April 20-23, 2021.

The Board ratified the President’s signature on the Make Ready Engineering Agreement and authorized the President to execute any and all documents related to the authorization of the Make Ready Construction Agreement and the Fiber Construction, Fiber Drops and Fiber Splicing agreements

The President reported on the progress of the Fiber Construction Project.

The Board approved 81 new member applications making the total number of members to date 18,844.

 SWATT Agenda Items Reviewed and Actions Taken

The Board authorized and directed the President to execute any and all documents associated with a broadband service agreement and contracts with National Information Systems Cooperative (NISC). 

The President presented an update on Diamond State Network.

The President reported that SWATT doing business as Four States Fiber received its Certificate of Authority to Operate from the Louisiana Public Service Commission.

Lineman Training Scholarship 2021

Southwest Arkansas Electric Cooperative is offering a $3,500 scholarship to cover books and tuition for the candidate chosen to attend the High Voltage Lineman Training Program at ASU-Newport, Arkansas this fall. 

 Applicants must be current members (or the child of a current member) of Southwest Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation in order to be eligible.

This is a 36-semester credit hour program consisting of 16 credit hours during the fall semester of courses that include introductions to utilities, climbing and groundman procedures, electrical safety, heavy construction equipment, DC and AC circuit analysis, technical mathematics and technical computer applications. 

The spring semester consists of 16 credit hours of courses including overhead distribution systems and pole framing, principles of operation of high voltage distribution systems, underground distribution, technical composition, human relations, heavy construction equipment and introduction to transformers. In the final semester (4 credit hours), students will complete an internship at their local electric cooperative as their capstone course. 

The successful candidate must complete an ASU-Newport Application for Admission and forward all college and high school official transcripts, medical immunizations records, ACT, ASSET or COMPASS scores and any other necessary records to the Office of Admissions and Records of Arkansas State University-Newport. The cost of housing while attending is not covered by the sponsor and must be provided by the student. More information about the program may be obtained at www.asun.edu/programs/newport/hvlt/.    

Fillable Application

Bobby Fenton

Director of Operations

2904 E. 9th Street

Texarkana, Arkansas 71854

In addition, the scholarship application must be accompanied by:

Your most recent academic transcript from school

A copy of your college entrance exam (ACT and/or SAT) scores

Two letters of recommendation from a teacher, counselor or employer

Documented high school activities school and community honors and activities.

For more information, email Rhonda Morrow at rmorrow@swrea.com or call 870-772-2743 ext. 1201.

Applications must be turned in by May 3rd, 2021.