September 18, 2003
NEMO Rural Telephone Company Hosts Annual Meeting In Memphis
More than 700 guests braved the damp, rainy Saturday evening to attend the 46th annual business meeting of the Northeast Missouri Telephone Company held at the Scotland County Fairgrounds September 13.
The visitors were treated to a barbecued meal served by the Scotland County Rotary Club prior to the opening of the organizationís business meeting. During that time the guests also witnessed a demonstration of Direct TV while the company gave away a number of attendance prizes.
General Manager Ray Ford offered a progress report for the completed 2002 year. He highlighted growth in the companyís internet service which now provides a total of 5,119 customers with service. That is an increase of more than 400 customers from the previous year, as more and more local residents gain access to the web. The company nearly doubled its customers for the recently added ADSL high speed internet service. The company provides ADSL to 414 customers up from just 212 last year.
Ford pointed to the internet service as well as the Multi-Com subsidiary, which provides Direct TV cable to local customers, as two of the reasons the companyís profits rose in 2002. Multi-Com provides cable television to 4,132 customers in the service area.
According to Treasurer Richard Stevensonís report the company had a total margin of more than $1.25 million last year. Overall the company brought in just over $10 million in revenues. Of that amount, $4.26 million went to cover maintenance and operating expenses. The company paid more than $500,000 in state and local taxes and spent $952 in interest expense. The company experienced $2,869,000 in depreciation and amortization expenses.
Ford also highlighted the companyís progress in construction and installation of new fiber optics lines. He said this summerís construction should conclude the fiber installation at all 11 of the original exchanges. He anticipated bids and a contract to be in place this winter to complete fiber construction in the three new exchanges of Memphis, Unionville and Queen City.
The company has recently received FCC licenses for 700 MHz wireless service that could allow the telephone company to offer wireless ADSL and cellular telephone service in the future.
Following the completion of the business portion of the meeting the 286 registered members present at the meeting were asked to cast their ballots in the election of three boards members. The company is governed by an 11-member board elected from its service regions.
The lone contested race occurred in the Tobin creek District #5 centered around Greentop. Incumbent Jim Kigar defeated challenger Greta Slocum by a vote of 552 to 185.
Junior Bertram was re-elected to serve the Luray #11 District. Hal Moore was re-elected in the #6 Novinger District that centers around Green Castle.
Other board members are Richard Morgan, president; Bobby Jones, vice president; Adrian Lewis, secretary; Richard Stevenson, treasurer and directors Rick Kent, Ronald Morlan, Hubert Pfeiffer, and John Aylward.
The board recognized a number of NEMO Rural Telephone Company employees for their years of service. Plant superintendent John Bushnell topped the list with 45 years with the company followed closely by Ford with 44.
Two local employees were honored for more than 30 years with the company. Combinationman Clark Simpson has been with the phone company for 34 years while cable maintenance man Kent Dunn was honored for 32 years of service.
The local phone cooperative can trace its roots back to 1952. Early that year a Rural Telephone Association was formed to serve parts of Adair, Schuyler, Putnam, Scotland and Sullivan Counties with an 11 member temporary board. Each county had two or three representatives. They were J. O. Filkins, Bryan Hoerrmann, and O. T. Huffman for Adair County; Leo Drake, Joe Moore and Hubert Miller for Scotland County; Crockett Berry, B. D. West and Eugene Poe for Schuyler County; and C. H. Ferguson, and R. E. Whitacre for Putnam County. The organization was to be known as Tri-County Rural Telephone Cooperative Association. Later in the year the name was changed to Northeast Missouri Rural Telephone Company.
Today the company provides service for 6,269 members of the cooperative. In addition to Multi-Com and the internet service providers the company also owns the Northeast Long Distance subsidiary to provide long distance telephone service.