Vote ongoing for Kansas electric cooperative building consolidation
MANKATO, Kan. — After nine public meetings in July throughout its nine-county membership this month to address a proposed building consolidation, the Rolling Hills Electric Cooperative received mostly positive feedback but also some push back.
The anonymous “Committee to preserve and maintain our excellent local Rolling Hills Electric Service” has advertised in the Waconda Trader flier questioning the Rolling Hills strategic plan. The Mankato office has 15 employees, positions that would eventually be lost to attrition if the consolidation is approved.
Cooperative members received mail ballots around July 8 asking whether Rolling Hills should centralize its office location with an office in Beloit to obtain long-term cost savings and operational efficiencies for its members. The ballots must be returned to Rolling Hills by Aug. 8.
“Jewell County and Mankato have seen tough times over the years,” Rolling Hills manager Doug Jackson said. “I’m not indifferent to the fact that they have had tough times. I came from a small community and I know what can happen in small communities when you lose a school through school consolidation. The board’s commitment and my commitment is to the members who pay the bill. We have to do what’s best for our members that pay the bill and not be tied to any community.”