From the Manager - November 2019
I’d like to talk to you a moment about the RURAL act and how this legislation needs your support. Clay Electric Co-operative is a not-for-profit cooperative. The revenue we collect from our members is used to maintain lines and provide power to our member-owners. Money collected past the amount needed to keep the cooperative running is returned to our members in the form of capital credits each year. As a not-for-profit, Clay Electric Co-operative and cooperatives across the country are provided tax-exempt status. This status lowers costs and keeps our member’s rates lower in return. To continue to qualify for tax exempt status, cooperatives must receive no more than 15 percent of their income from sources outside the membership.
For a small cooperative like Clay Electric, changes to federal tax law in 2017 could lead to the loss of tax-exempt status should any emergency arise. With the language in the 2017 changes, accepting aid from FEMA in the event of a natural disaster or accepting a federal grant for infrastructure improvements could cause the cooperative to lose its status. We shouldn’t have to choose between keeping costs and rates low for our members or accepting aid or grants to repair or upgrade services to our members.
The RURAL act would add language to the tax law that would modify the definition of income for determining tax-exempt status to allow cooperatives to still be able to accept grants or aid without the risk of losing their status. We encourage all our members to contact their representatives and senators and ask them to support the RURAL act.
Our crews continue to stay busy maintaining the system and we encourage you to be mindful of work crews and farm machinery as you travel our rural communities. Keeping safe is everyone’s responsibility. As you flip through your newsletter, keep your eyes peeled for your member number. There are three member numbers hidden in Clay Electric News. If you find your number and give us a call, you win $5 off your next bill!