First in-person Annual Members’ Meeting in three years for Flathead Electric Co-op

Like most everything else in March 2020, Flathead Electric Co-op’s Annual Meeting was canceled. The following March, the Co-op held a socially distanced drive-in meeting in Glacier High School’s parking lot. This year, for the first time since 2019, the Cooperative’s members will again meet in person. Members number over 56,000 in the Flathead area – if you pay a bill to Flathead Electric Co-op, you’re a member.

For the past 84 years, the Annual Meeting was required, via the Co-op’s bylaws, to take place in March. Last year, members passed a by-law change allowing the date to be moved. This month, the Co-op’s members are invited to the Annual Meeting on Saturday, April 23, at Canvas Church. Co-op staff and Trustees look forward to visiting with members and to recognizing the Co-op’s 85 years of service in the community.

Registration and breakfast begin at 8:30 a.m., followed by entertainment with local 1950’s rock’n’roll band the Fabulous Bel Aires. The business meeting commences at 9:45 a.m. The meeting will adjourn around 11:30 a.m. Childcare is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Members in attendance will learn about the Co-op’s financial stability and continued focus on power supply, rates, emerging technologies, and more. They will also hear about their Co-op’s response to the incredible growth seen in the service area. In addition, a presentation about the proposed removal of the lower Snake River dams will be given.

There will be prize drawings for those in attendance, including the grand prize, a $500 energy bill credit. Five $500 scholarships will be awarded to area high school seniors planning to enroll at an accredited Montana university or college. To be eligible, the student’s parent or guardian must be a Flathead Electric Co-op member, and the student must be present at the meeting. There is no application process; names will be drawn from those high school seniors in attendance.

Meeting registration cards and the Annual Review were mailed to members on March 31, 2022. Members are asked to bring their registration card to the meeting to expedite the registration process, but replacements can be issued should the card be lost or forgotten.

At the meeting, members will hear from the three Board of Trustees seats up for election:

    • District #1 (Columbia Falls to Essex), Trustee Stacey Schnebel
    • District #4 (Helena Flats – Columbia Falls Stage), Trustee Steve Streich
    • District #7 (Kalispell, south of Highway 2), Trustee Gary Boe

All seats are running unopposed and there are no bylaw amendments on this year’s ballot. Thanks to another bylaw change passed last year by members, electronic voting is now an option.

Unless a member opted out of receiving a paper ballot prior to March 31, 2022, they will receive a paper ballot in the mail the week of April 25, after the Annual Meeting. Paper ballots will also provide the member instructions to vote electronically if they prefer.

For members who choose to vote electronically, the electronic election opens April 25 at 8 a.m. Members who have an email on file with the Co-op will receive an emailed ballot on April 25. Members can also vote via their online account or the Co-op’s website.

Although members have options in casting their ballot, each member can vote only once. The Co-op’s independent election vendor has controls in place such that if a member submits multiple votes, only one will be counted.

The Flathead Electric Cooperative election closes on May 20. Paper ballots must be received by the election vendor by this date and electronic voting closes at 11 a.m. on that day.

Flathead Electric Cooperative’s 85th Annual Meeting is Saturday, April 23, 2022, at Canvas Church, 255 Summit Ridge Drive, Kalispell, 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. All members are invited and encouraged to attend.