Optimistic Outlook for South Central Telephone as Expansion Plans Continue, Upgrades Planned

By REX ZIMMERMAN

South Central Telephone Assn. held its 2017 annual meeting on Friday, April 28, at the Kiowa Community Building. A capacity crowd enjoyed a delicious meal catered by Raykie’s Catering of Medicine Lodge and heard a report of the past year’s activities.

Mike VanCampen, president of the board of directors, welcomed everyone to the meeting and dinner and handled the election of officers. Paul Harbaugh was unopposed for re-elected as director from the Kiowa exchange with 108 votes, and Kenneth Dohm was re-elected as director from the Lake City/Sun City exchange by an 18-14 vote count over Lori Johnson.

Other directors are Brent Garvie from Burlington/Byron exchange, Jesse Blasi from Iuka, Ronnie Patterson from Hazelton, and Dan Hrencher from Sharon.

The financial report for the association showed that even through difficult periods, the association has remained strong financially with equity about five times the amount of debt. The bottom line “net margin” showed a total for 2016 of $482,918.00, an increase of over $20,000 from 2015.

General Manager Kelly Johnson said in his report that uncertainty in the industry, especially at the federal level, has finally cleared allowing the company to forecast revenues with more certainty. This will allow the company to continue expansion projects in the Harper and Anthony areas while streamlining expenses and “focusing on what our customers need”.

Johnson reported on a new service, URTech, which is provided by local employees and will give customers more and better support. He also said that work on upgrades on electronic hardware on the outside of customer’s residences and businesses in the Kiowa and Burlington exchanges will begin very shortly and should be completed by Fall.

Johnson also reminded all SCTelcom customers that the battery backup which was installed in their homes and businesses with the fiber optics system several years ago needs a new battery every three or four years. The batteries can be picked up at any SCTelcom office at no charge.

“All in all, things are going pretty well,” Johnson concluded.

Scholarships were next awarded to seniors living in SCTelcom exchanges. Students receiving the honors were Kacee Hostetler, Spencer Kimmell, Bailey Roberts and Emily Rugg from South Barber High School, Kayley Geesling from Fairfield High School, Kendra England from Medicine Lodge High School and Jonathan Armbruster from Burlington High School.

Several door prizes and gift certificates were given away to conclude the meeting.