Fulton County REMC will conduct its 80th annual meeting at Rochester High School on June 25. I encourage you all to attend and vote in the director election. While we will not be serving food again this year, we will have some great activities for the children and some vendors for the adults.
This past year, the board of directors and staff members participated in a strategic planning session and since then, we have been working on that strategic plan. While providing affordable, reliable electricity is our core mission, our strategic plan focuses on growth, youth, economic development, and quality of life in the communities we serve.
Growth is our cooperative’s most challenging focus point. All of other focus points are affected by our growth — either directly or indirectly. If our cooperative grows in number of members, fixed costs (think cost of service charge) can be shared by more members, allowing us to keep the individual cost stable. Currently, Fulton County REMC has seen a loss of residential services for the last several years, and we are seeking ways to reverse that trend.
Economic development is not only attracting new businesses to our area, but it also includes working with local business and entrepreneurs to provide opportunities for growth and expansion. Outside businesses have expressed interest in relocating to our area, including a lot on Blacketor Drive, which is served by Fulton County REMC.
With sub-4 percent unemployment in our area, workforce development plays an important role in providing current and future businesses with a pool of employees who have the skills needed to be productive. Having programs in place to teach the needed skills would not only benefit the individuals, but it would be a plus for our economic development efforts. The low unemployment rate should put upward pressure on wages, which would be a boost for many families. Fulton County REMC is working with FEDCO, Fulton County Chamber, and a group of young leaders to develop a program or programs that will help retain and attract a new generation for our workforce.
This is a huge challenge faced by many rural communities throughout our nation, but to be successful businesses, schools, local government, and communities must work together one step at a time.
Fulton County REMC plans to continue its involvement in the communities we serve. Whether we’re replacing rotten poles at baseball fields, rewiring fairground buildings, or hosting Easter Egg hunts for kids, we have been a part of our community for over 80 years. Come join us at Rochester High School on June 25 as we celebrate.
JOE KOCH is CEO of Fulton County REMC.