Summary of March board meeting

Posted on Jun 02 2023 in Decatur County REMC

Written Consent Motions
A director candidate asked for the membership lists for campaigning purposes. Per bylaw requirement Section 1.10: Membership List, the board must approve the request. The directors voted via email and the request failed.

Nominating candidates Beth AmRhein and Brian Moore were nominated by Brian Scheidler for District 5. The directors voted via email and passed by unanimous written consent.

The meeting was opened by Chairman Steve AmRhein and Brian Scheidler kept the minutes of the meeting. All board members were present. Also present was CEO Brett Abplanalp and employees Jeanne Loechle, Matt Raver, Crystal Greathouse and Hoosier Energy leadership.

Suzanne Parmer moved to approve the agenda. Dale Wernke seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Hoosier Energy Annual Visit
Brett Abplanalp introduced the Hoosier Energy leadership team. Topics covered were global energy transition, U.S. energy outlook, energy policy, economic development and rate outlook. It was also discussed that Hoosier does not expect changes to their retirement of capital credits. The DCREMC board has retired more in the last two years than any prior year based on these cash payments from Hoosier. 

Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes
Dale Wernke moved to approve the minutes from the Feb. 28, 2023, board meeting. Suzanne Parmer seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously. 

Safety Minute and Cool Moment
The cool moment was presented by Brett Abplanalp and included two member comments. One thanking Pat Nobbe, Brian Keith and our crews for getting their line buried and the second referring to the Brett’s Buzz article in our monthly magazine and saying, “keep up the good work.”

The safety moment was presented by Brett Abplanalp about the difference between a tornado watch and a warning.

Round-Up Trust Report
The grant awards report was shared with the board from our DCREMC Community Trust Round-up committee.

CEO Updates
Brett Abplanalp updated the board on the Accord fiber grant opportunity and the OCRA grant opportunity. Brett Abplanalp then gave an update on our strategy for fiber attachments to our poles. We currently charge a fee to all known contacts through contractual agreements. We are also in the process of a five-year project looking for unknown contacts. Updates were given on pole replacements and right-of-way tree refusals. Last, Brett Abplanalp covered February company metrics as prepared on CTO.

Financial Updates
Matt Raver reported on February financials as prepared on CTO. Net utility plant increased $359,970 in February and our current equity is 61.2%. Revenues are over YTD budget and power costs are over, resulting in a gross margin under budget of $49,980 YTD. Controllable expenses are under budget by $69,267. Net increase in cash of $347,482 resulting in an ending cash balance of $989,145.

Our Hoosier director also discussed that capital credits of approximately $668,000 will be returned to DCREMC from Hoosier in November, which will all be returned to our members per the approved budget.

Matt Raver explained to the board the need for a spare large transformer that is not part of the budget. This would most likely not hit the financials until 2024. The consensus of the board was to place the order for the 2,500 KVA transformer. 

2023 Company Goals
Brett Abplanalp presented the proposed 2023 goals. Jason Barnhorst moved to approve the 2023 goals as presented. Dale Wernke seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Policy/Bylaws Review and Report Out 

LCPT Language Changes — made changes to align power factor penalties of large commercial tariff. 

Policy 10-2: Hours of Work and Rates of Pay — no material changes made.

Policy 10-16: Anti-Harassment — no material changes made.

Policy 2-6: Contributions in Aid to Construction for Pole Top Switches — changes were made to make this an incentive for removing pole top switches rather than an aid of construction to add one.

Policy 1-6: Services of Consultants — no material changes made.

Policy 2-5: Efficient Use of Energy — no material changes made.

Policy 6-1: Membership in Other Organizations — no material changes made.

Policy 1-7: Director Education — no material changes made.

Dale Wernke moved to approve all changes as presented. Suzanne Parmer seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

The Hoosier Energy Board Update
Jason Barnhorst gave the Hoosier Board and Hoosier Finance and Audit Committee updates. Capital credits and member flexibility updates were also given. 

IEC Board/Committee Update
Steve AmRhein reported that there was no IEC board update. 

Crystal Greathouse discussed Youth Tour and camp applications. There were more applicants than we had budgeted for in 2023. The board consensus was to only fund the numbers in the budget and possibly budget for more next year.

The board also discussed the bylaw that allows email voting for board business. Management took an action item to review.  

Legal Matters
The chairman asked the board to remove the confidentiality, for transparency, of the recent board member whistleblower complaint investigation. After board discussion, Jason Barnhorst made a motion to allow board members to respond if asked about the outcome of the investigation. Dale Wernke seconded the motion. The motion died with a 4-4 vote.

The chairman discussed an email from Chris Tebbe representing two board members dated Dec. 16, 2022. It was explained that there were accusations in the letter, and the chairman asked the board to allow that email to be copied to those accused. No action was taken on this request.

Carl Riedeman moved to adjourn the meeting. Jeff Lawrence seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously, and the meeting was adjourned at 8:31 p.m.