Oberlin Cable Co-op
Minutes of Annual Membership Meeting
Wednesday, October 19, 2016 7:00 P.M.
Cable Co-op Office 27 East College St., Oberlin
Call to Order and Welcome
Board President Mark Jaffee welcomed attendees and those tuned in on television and called the meeting to order at 7:00 P.M. In opening remarks, he commented that Oberlin Cable Co-op has come through well in the face of a number of challenges during the year. In spite of increased fees from cable suppliers, subscription costs for our customers were kept lower than the competition. The transition to all digital services continues. Internet speed has increased with no increase in Internet fees. He also remarked that we are cooperating with the Oberlin Gigabit Community project to strengthen Oberlin as a place to live and work with ultra high speed internet supplied by Cable Co-op. For the Board, he thanked management and staff for quality products and excellent customer service. He thanked Roland Baumann and Sam Goldberg, both of whom are retiring from the Board, for their many years of valued service as Board members.
Approval of Minutes of Meeting of October 21, 2015
A motion was made to accept the minutes as written. The motion was seconded and approved.
Financial Report, Fiscal Year 2015-2016
Treasurer Findlan was unable to attend the meeting due to a family emergency and General Manager Potts delivered the report. (The brochure Fiscal Year 2015-16 Financial Summary, was distributed at the meeting; a copy is attached.) Some noteworthy items: (1) Total revenues in 2015—2016 were $2,014,028 and total expenses were $2,009,769, producing a modest operating surplus of $4,259; (2) The average number of Cable basic-service subscribers continued its slight decline (1,424 this year, 1,501 the prior year); (3) The number of Oberlin.net Internet subscribers stayed virtually the same over the year; (4) Basic cable services accounted for 43% and Internet operations for 34% of total revenue; (5) Operating expenses accounted for 62% and personnel 26% of total expenses; (6) New programming agreements have seen 6-10% increases in per subscriber fees, with sports programming having the most expensive fees, but current retail rates for video services are well below costs for similar packages of other area providers; (7) Video services are now 100% digital and we will be adding more high-definition simulcasts in the coming year; (8) Speeds of our Oberlin.net services levels have been increased three times since June 2015; and (9) Capital investments of $247,578 were made this year to complete our network upgrade. A Financial Report Affirmation Motion was made to approve the financial statements covering the activities of the Corporation from and since the last annual membership meeting. This motion was seconded and approved without dissent by members present.
New Business ‒ Trustee Election Results
Sam Goldberg, Chairman of the Nomination Committee, gave the report (copy attached). He thanked Committee member Phil Verda for his help in counting of votes from the returned ballots. A total of 1,976 ballots were mailed to members to elect four nominees to serve as members of the Board of Trustees from the five nominees on the ballot. Only 229 ballots were returned, an 11.6% return rate, compared to 16.7% in 2015, 20.0% in 2014, 18.1% in 2013 and 16.1% in 2012. Sam commented that “this ominous downward slide deserves more than a little attention of the Board.” In decreasing order of votes received, the voting result was as follows: John Memmott, 189 votes; Connie Ponder, 180; Paul Kobulnicky, 135; Chris Mason, 131; and Bob Piron 104. The winners were congratulated and welcomed to the Board. President Jaffe thanked Bob Piron for his 9 years of past service on the Board.
An Election Affirmation Motion was made to affirm the election of John Memmott, Connie Ponder, Paul Kobulnicky, and Chris Mason as trustees of the Corporation to serve on the Board of Trustees until the expiration of their terms, or until earlier resignation, disqualification, removal from office, or death. This motion was seconded and approved without audible dissent.
Past Year Activities and Future Plans
Ralph Potts gave the report. He thanked the Board and recognized the Cable Co-op technical staff (Jay Shrewsbury, Eric Clark, and Devon Wilbur), customer service representative Rita Casey, and new office employee Jody Millikan for their dedicated work as he completed 29 years as General Manager. He then reviewed the year’s projects: (1) The replacement of analog by digital feeds continued, is almost completed, and for some subscribers with newer TV sets has required demonstrations to show owners how to “auto-program” their sets; (2) High definition digital simulcast for video services was rolled out; (3) Hope to be able to offer 100mg Internet service next year; (4) The billing system upgrade with Great Lakes Data makes it possible for subscribers to log into and view their accounts from anywhere (via I-phone, I-pad, or computer) and make payments with bank transfers or credit card; (5) As a source of additional revenue, a new contract being negotiated by NCTC would allow our selling of Netflix and/or HULU online services with our Oberlin net service; (6) Starting this spring, we will be getting fiber into more neighborhoods, using fiber obtained from Everstream (formerly One Community).
There was no other business.
Final Order of Business
President Jaffee asked for the following Motion of Affirmation: All acts, transactions, and business of the trustees and officers from and since the last Annual Membership Meeting, hereby are ratified, approved, and confirmed. The motion was made, seconded and approved with no audible dissent.
With all business completed, at 7:30 P.M. President Jaffee called for a motion to adjourn. The motion was made, seconded, and approved. Jaffee thanked all attendees and TV viewers and everyone was invited to enjoy refreshments in the lobby.
Samuel Goldberg, Secretary