Co-op seeks funds to fight city

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The Socorro Electric Cooperative Board of Trustees is asking for at least a quarter of a million dollars from the Cooperative Finance Corporation's Cooperative System Integrity Fund to resist a takeover by the City of Socorro.

The Cooperative System Integrity Fund provides financial assistance to rural electric organizations that face threats to the integrity of their service territories, according to SEC General Manager Joseph Herrera.

"This resource is available to us in order to resist a takeover attempt by a competing entity," he said. "No member funds will be used."

With District II trustee Charlie Wagner absent, the board voted unanimously to apply for the funds.

"In light of the Mayor's latest announcement, the Board thought it would be prudent to pursue this option," board president and District V trustee Anne Dorough said.

According to its website, "The CFC Cooperative System Integrity Fund serves as a resource to the rural electric program to support the efforts of cooperatives to resist threats to the integrity of their service territory, to protect the right of rural electric systems to provide non-electric energy services, and to assist cooperatives that are facing regulatory, judicial and legislative challenges that have the potential to affect other cooperatives in a state, region or the nation."

In other business, the board has voted to payout Capital Credits from the years 1984 through 1988 in the total amount of over one half million dollars.

According to co-op's bylaws, capital credits are to be retired 25 years after a customer's account is closed. In 2014, the 25 year deadline would be 1989, meaning that retirement of the years previous to that were overdue.

Dorough said last year the co-op retired capital credits for the years 1978 through 1983 for a total of over $1 million.

"At the board meeting on May 21, we approved another Capital Credit retirement for the years of 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987 and 1988 for a total of approximately $1.5 million," Dorough said.

Fifty percent of the retirement will come from the General Fund and 50 percent from a loan, she said.

"It says a lot about Joseph Herrera's management that SEC is in a position to make these retirements without adversely affecting the financial welfare of the cooperative," she said. "This will enable us to reach our goal of a 25 year rotation on capital credits."

The next co-op board meeting will be June 25 at 2 p.m. in the boardroom at 310 Abeyta Ave.