COVID-19 will force Boone Electric Cooperative to hold its 2020 annual membership meeting in a drive-thru format July 10, after 82 years of meeting in person.
Members can attend this meeting and register at the Boone Electric headquarters at 1413 Range Line St or at Battle High School, 7575 E. St. Charles Road, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Those who participate will receive a $35 credit on their electric bill and be eligible for additional prizes.
Like usual meetings, registered members will be able to vote on bylaws, approve board reports and elect board members to run the cooperative, according to Boone Electric's website.
To maintain social distancing, members will need to stay in their cars. Some traditional parts of the annual meeting, such as information booths and the annual membership meal, have been canceled.
Vicki Kemna, assistant general manager of the cooperative, said she hopes the same restrictions won't be necessary next year.
Because county policies on restrictions during the pandemic have changed a lot, it was difficult for the cooperative's board to decide to abandon the regular membership meeting format, Kemna said.
The cooperative has been unsure since the spring, given rules regarding COVID-19, whether it could have the annual meeting in July as normal.
"But with the Boone Country's restrictions being lifted, we were able to go ahead with our plans for the July day, just changing some of the logistics of the events," she said.
Kemna said she doesn't know what to expect in terms of participation because the format will be so different. A news release from the cooperative said the annual meeting sometimes attracts as many as 4,000 people.
"We are keeping our fingers crossed for a large turnout, and so we can meet the quorum," she said.
Meredith Hoenes, communications specialist for the cooperative, said it has about 28,000 members. The organization provides electricity to many residents of Boone and other counties, including some within Columbia city limits.