From the Boardroom – December 2022

by Kecia Wolf, President & CEO

The Board of Directors held meetings on December 20 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 doing business as Four States Fiber also held a regular Board Meeting.

SWAECC

The Cooperative’s audit report was presented by a representative from FORVIS.

Special service contracts for $27.3 million were authorized for 2023.

Initial plans were set in motion for the March 25, 2023, Annual Meeting of Members.

Regular Board Meeting dates for 2023 were scheduled and approved.

The Cooperative’s 2023 Strategic Plan and Budget were accepted.

A discussion was held regarding the 2023 ACRE membership campaign.

Information was presented about the NRECA 2023 PowerXchange & Tech Advantage conference scheduled for March.

The Cooperative was authorized to make a $1,000 contribution to Arkansas Rural Development State Political Action Fund.

The Board authorized the Cooperative to move forward with the Midway Switching Station Project with Re-Con Company, Inc., and directed the President to execute all documents associated with the agreement.

The Board authorized the Cooperative to increase its Letter of Credit by Cooperative Finance Corporation and to update the individuals authorized to act on behalf of the Cooperative.

81 new member applications were approved making a total of 18,920 members to date.

FSF

The Board of Directors authorized Four States Fiber to make an equity contribution of $200,000 to Diamond State Network for the day-to-day operations, expenses and needed equipment.

From the Boardroom – November 2022

by Kecia Wolf, President & CEO

The Board of Directors held meetings on November 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

Plans were discussed and approved for the 2023 Annual Meeting of Members scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday, March  25. In addition, the prize money budget was also approved.

The Board was informed that the AECC Board of Directors approved a retirement of patronage capital in the about of $20 million and Southwest Arkansas Electric’s portion will be paid in January 2023.

Information was presented regarding the 2023 ACRE campaign.

The Board accepted a rebate check in the amount of $5,967.09 for the Cooperative’s involvement in the CFC One-Card Program.

It was reported that CFC’s Cooperative System Integrity Fund has a balance of $6,322,559.

Toth and Associates, consulting engineers for the Cooperative prepared an amendment to the current approved Construction Work Plan to make upgrades to the Midway Switching Station. The Board authorized the amendment. 

The Board authorized Kecia Wolf as the Certifier for Rural Utilities Services and Stephen Vaughan was appointed as the Security Administrator on behalf of the Cooperative for RUS. In addition, the Chairman, Secretary and President were authorized to sign RUS forms in connection with the requisition of RUS or FFB loan funds.

The Cooperative was authorized to proceed with Phase III of the Fiber to the Home construction and implementation and the President was instructed to execute any and all contracts and documents associated with this portion of the Fiber project.

The Board accepted the IRS Form 990 prepared by the certified public accounting firm of FORVIS and authorized the President to execute any and all forms associated with the filing.

93 new member applications were approved making a total of 18,886 members to date.

SWATT

No new business was discussed.

From the Boardroom – October 2022

by Kecia Wolf, President & CEO

The Board of Directors held meetings on October 31 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

CFC’s Regional Vice President attended the meeting and presented the Key Ratio Trend Analysis (KRTA) from CFC that provides measurements of the Cooperative’s financial and operational health.

Cooperative Response Center (CRC) allocated capital credit to its membership and approved a patronage refund. The Cooperative’s retirement payment is $301 in addition to a cash payment of $1,506 from unpaid allocations.

The Board unanimously authorized the Cooperative to continue to fund the ERC Loan Program with internally generated capital or loan funds from the RUS Rural Energy Saving Program (RESP).

The Board of Directors authorized the renewal of the group benefits plan for post-65 retirees through AmWins.

The President reported that the NRECA PowerXchange Annual Meeting is scheduled for March 5-8, 2023, in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Board authorized the Cooperative to terminate the Executive Benefit Restoration Plan.

Updates were approved to the Cooperative’s Drug and Alcohol-free Workplace policy to clarify the Cooperative’s policy and procedure regarding CBD oil.

The Chairman was selected to serve as the voting delegate on behalf of the Cooperative during the 2022 Touchstone Energy Annual Electronic Business Meeting and Board of Directors elections scheduled for December.

The Board accepted the IRS Form 990 prepared by the certified public accounting firm of FORVIS and authorized the President to execute any and all forms associated with the filing.

Changes to the Primary Construction Change Order for the De Queen Substation were approved.

A donation in the amount of $2,000 was authorized for the Taylor Sports Complex in Taylor, Arkansas.

Updates prepared by Winston Tan of Intandem, LLC to the Wage and Salary Schedule for nonunion employees were approved.

121 new member applications were approved making a total of 18,863 members to date.

Kecia Wolf was appointed as the new President and CEO of the Cooperative and Four States Fiber effective December 1, 2022.

SWATT

The President presented updates including future fiber installation, current pre-registrations for service and on general funding and grants.

From the Boardroom – September 2022

by Dion Cooper, President & CEO

The Board of Directors held meetings on September 22 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

The Board of Directors accepted the CFC patronage capital retirement allocation and payment to the Cooperative in the amount of $92,440.24.

The Board authorized the Cooperative to declare payable to its members $3 million in Capital Credits that includes portions of 1988, 1989 and 2021.

The Board accepted ACEI’s 2021 distribution, allocation and payment of capital credits.

Southwest Arkansas Electric Cooperative’s portion of the 2022 Power Requirement Study prepared by Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation on behalf of cooperative was approved by the Board of Directors.

The President was selected to serve as the Voting Delegate for the cooperative at the 2022 Touchstone Energy Annual Electronic Business Meeting and Board of Directors elections scheduled for December.

The President reported that the Directors’ Winter Conference and training is scheduled for December 3-6.

The Board authorized the Cooperative to rename its De Queen Substation as the Don Stemple Substation in honor of retired Director Don Stemple’s 54 years of service.

The Board selected Tommy Isbell and Jim Alford to serve as voting delegate and alternate voting delegate, respectively, at the Region 8 CFC meeting.

The Board approved 109 new member applications making the total number of members to date 18,863.

SWATT

The President presented updates including future fiber installation, current pre-registrations for service and on general funding and grants.

The General Manager presented a report on future fiber installation and an update on the number of current connected customers.

From the Boardroom – August 2022

by Dion Cooper, President & CEO

The Board of Directors held meetings on August 29 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

A representative from FORVIS, the accounting firm who prepares the Cooperative’s annual audit, attended the meeting to discuss the approaching audit of the accounting records for the year ending September 30, 2022.

The Cooperative was authorized to employ a wage and salary consultant to update the its nonunion wage and salary schedule.

The Board authorized the renewal of the 2023 NRECA group employee benefits.

Payment for the Cooperative’s NRECA dues membership was authorized.

The President reported that the Cooperative’s Retirement Security (RS) Plan contribution billing rate for 2023 shows no increase for groups 001 and 002.

The Board authorized the Cooperative to use a third-party group to pursue receiving a credit through the Employee Retention Credit, an extension of the CARES Act.

The Board authorized the Cooperative to proceed with a Cost of Service Study performed by Toth and Associates.

The Board ratified the Cooperative’s membership with NRECA’s broadband program and authorized the Cooperative to pay the annual costs associated with participation.

Director Tommy Isbell and Director Jim Alford were selected to serve as Voting Delegate and Alternate Voting Delegate, respectively, at the NRECA Region 8 meeting.

The Board approved 109 new member applications making the total number of members to date 18,826.

SWATT

The President presented updates including future fiber installation, current pre-registrations for service and on general funding and grants.

The General Manager presented a report on future fiber installation and an update on the number of current connected customers.

The Board of Directors authorized the renewal of the 2023 NRECA group employee benefits.

From the Boardroom – June 2022

by Dion Cooper, President & CEO

The Board of Directors held meetings on June 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 President and Chairman were selected to serve as the ERMCO Voting Delegate and Alternate Voting Delegate, respectively, during the organization’s annual meeting.

The President reported that two applicants were selected to receive the Lineman Scholarship in 2022. They are William Zane Abney, a graduate of Ashdown High School, and Hayden Linville, a graduate of Nashville High School.

A presentation regarding the Cooperative’s Affirmative Action Program was accepted by the Board and the President and Chairman were authorized to sign all related documents associated with the Program.

The President reported on the Cooperative’s Investment Credit amount that appears on its Wholesale Power Bill from AECC.

The Board approved an increased annual fee named on its lease agreement with Amerigas Propane, L.P.

The Board selected the president and Board Chairman to serve as the Voting Delegate and Alternate Voting Delegate, respectively, for the Texas Electric Cooperative Annual and Special Meetings.

The Board reviewed and accepted updates made to the Equal Employment Opportunity Policy Statement, Statement of Nondiscrimination and Affirmative Action Policy, the Anti-Harassment Policy and the interconnection of Distributed Resources (IDR) Policy.

The Board authorized the September Regular Board Meeting date to be rescheduled for Thursday, September 22.

The Board approved 76 new member applications making the total number of members to date 18,814.

SWATT Agenda Items Reviewed and Actions Taken

The President presented several updates including future fiber installation, current pre-registrations for service and on general funding and grants. In addition, a report was given on the Annual Meeting of Diamond State Network.

The General Manager presented a report on future fiber installation and an update on the number of current connected customers.

From the Boardroom – May 2022

by Dion Cooper, President & CEO

The Board of Directors held meetings on May 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 Cooperative was authorized to allocate 2021 capital credits in the amount of $4,786,945.

The President reported that Magician Scott Davis reinstated the live safety magic show presentations at area schools at the end of the spring semester and plans to continue them during the 2022-2023 school year.

The Board reviewed and accepted the information on the Cooperative’s Semi-Annual Interest Payment provided by CFC.

The Board authorized CFC to deduct 5% of the Cooperative’s 2022 Patronage Capital Refund, not to exceed $4,000, for the CFC Cooperative System Integrity Fund.

A $500 contribution to the Nashville Chamber of Commerce Stand up for American July 4th event was approved.

The Board authorized a donation of $200 to the Cooperative’s three Youth Tour Delegates for 2022.

The Cooperative recently received a $1,000 donation from Today’s Power, Inc., to be used for a scholarship. The Board authorized the Cooperative to set up a scholarship fund and match the donation received from TPI to create a $2,000 scholarship awarded annually to a graduating senior selected from applications submitted by children or grandchildren of its members. Children and grandchildren of employees will also be eligible to apply. The scholarship will be known as “Don Stemple Scholarship Fund,” in honor of the Cooperative’s longest serving Board Member.

The Board authorized the amendment, restatement and continuance of its Retirement Security (RS) Plan and its 401(k) Pension Plan as required by NRECA.

The Board selected the President/CEO as Voting Delegate for the CFC Annual Membership Meeting and the NCSC Annual Meeting.

The Board approved 101 new member applications making the total number of members to date 18,832.

SWATT Agenda Items Reviewed and Actions Taken

The President presented several updates including future fiber installation, current pre-registrations for service and on general funding and grants.

The Board authorized the amendment, restatement and continuance of Four State’s Fiber’s 401(k) pension Plan as required by NRECA.

Lineman Training Scholarship Winners Announced

William Zane Abney, a graduate of Ashdown High School and son of Toni Tackett and Billy Abney; and Hayden Linville, a graduate of Nashville High School and son of Eva Linville and Jeremy Linville, were recently awarded Lineman Training Scholarships from Southwest Arkansas Electric Cooperative to Arkansas State University-Newport. The scholarships are valued at $3,500 and cover books and tuition.

From the Boardroom – April 2022

by Dion Cooper, President & CEO

The Board of Directors held meetings on April 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

Thomas & Thomas presented their report regarding the mailing and receipt of Proxy cards and the official notice of meeting, notice to members and the annual report. The Board accepted the report and authorized the acceptance of three proxies that were questionable and rejected all proxies that did not have a valid signature.

The Board reviewed and accepted charge-offs of inactive accounts with balances greater than zero and a discontinued date prior to September 15, 2020.

The Board authorized a payment of Approximately $1,548,222 for the 2022 property taxes.

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

The Board reviewed and accepted the report of the Cooperative’s Identity Theft Prevention Program and the Privacy of Nonpublic Personal Information policies. In addition, the Board approved the changes to the Anti-Harassment Policy.

A lead sponsorship was authorized for the annual Ashgrove Charity Golf Tournament.

A donation of $500 was approved for the Center Point Volunteer Fire Department.

The Board named the President/CEO as an authorized representative of the Cooperative to purchase real property and execute, affirm or sign any documents required in connection with said purchases of real property.

The Board approved 91 new member applications making the total number of members to date 18,834.

SWATT Agenda Items Reviewed and Actions Taken

The President presented several updates including future fiber installation, current pre-registrations for service and on general funding and grants.

From the Boardroom – February 2022

by Dion Cooper, President & CEO

The Board of Directors held meetings on February 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 Cooperative’s attorney reviewed the Conflict of Interest, Director Duties and Standards of Conduct and the Whistleblower policies with the Board of Directors and Cooperative officers and Board Members signed the Conflict of Interest Certification.

The President prepared the annual CFC Officer’s Compliance Certification and the Board ratified the president’s completion of the worksheet and certification for 2021.

The Board authorized the Cooperative to pay the premium amount due to Arkansas rural Electric Self-Insurance Trust.

The President reported on the date and place for NRECA’s 2022 Legislative Conference.

The Board ratified the new date of April 25 for the 2022 Annual Meeting of Members.

The Board approved 86 new member applications making the total number of members to date 18,803.

SWATT Agenda Items Reviewed and Actions Taken

The President presented several updates including future fiber installation, current pre-registrations for service and on general funding and grants.