SLEEPY?EYE - Brown County Rural Electrical Association (BCREA held the cooperative's 75th annual meeting on March 31 at the Eagles Orchid Inn in Sleepy Eye.
More than 400 people attended, with 254 members registering.
Business Manager Lonnie Spaeth, presented the 2011 financial report.
Brown County REA Board of Directors are, from left, Brad Sprenger, Tom Hayes, Jim Mickelson, Allen Hanson, Jim Hanson, Elmer Guggisberg, General Manager Wade Hensel, Bob Berg, Joel Christensen, Reuben Kokesch.
Spaeth plans to retire in May 2012, and he was recognized for 32 years with BCREA.
Board President Tom Hayes gave highlights of the cooperative's history. BCREA became a legal entity on March 17, 1937. Lines were built by hand in the months that followed and the first farms were electrified in January of 1938. There were 353 farms electrified that first year.
H.A. Rosseth was the first general manager of the co-op. Les Schrupp succeeded him and served from 1975 to 2002.
Hayes thanked Schrupp, who attended the meeting, for his leadership.
General Manager Wade Hensel reported that Brown County REA's average outage minutes for members have been among, if not the lowest, in Minnesota. The co-op's current challenge is to maintain its distribution system. Declining kilowatt hour sales have resulted in the need for a rate increase, which will take effect with the May 2012 billing.
Hensel also noted that Brown County REA's 75th anniversary coincides with the International Year of the Cooperative.
Three directors were elected.
Joel Christensen was elected to represent District 6 to succeed Chris Christensen who retired from this position and was thanked for his 33 years of service.
Incumbents Elmer Guggisberg, District 7, and Tom Hayes, District 9, were re-elected.
Officers were elected at the organizational meeting. They are Tom Hayes, president of the board; Jim Mickelson, vice president; and Jim Hanson, secretary/treasurer. Reuben Kokesch was chosen as the Great River Energy representative.