RIPLEY -- Tippah Electric Power Association’s Board of Directors heard broadband and operations reports, and an election update, according to the board’s most recently available minutes.

The Oct.14 meeting was called to order by Board President Jerry Watkins at 6 p.m. Board member Phillip Camburn led the board in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Additional board members present included Tommy Benson, Matt Ormon, Ricky Martin, Jimmy Huddleston, Mark Johnson, Greg Smith, and Ricky Dobbs.

Attending the meeting were General Manager Tim Smith, Finance Manager Kerry Cockrell, and Board Attorney Chris Latimer.

General Manager Smith provided a broadband update. He advised that an outage on 9/21/21 was caused by an AT&T tier one upstream provider being briefly out-of-service.

TEPAConnect now has a back-up tier one provider, which will be a fellover feed, and provide continuous coverage in the event of future outages.

Smith informed that discussions continue on the state level about a statewide fiber network to be called the Magnolia Network, which, if developed, would provide additional internet stability among the state's EPAs.

He informed that TEPAConnect would apply to receive funds from the most recent statewide grant program, and that previously awarded RDOF grant funds would be disbursed in the near future.

The general manager also informed that 1,575 customers are receiving broadband service. He said 131 customers are awaiting drops, 213 customers are waiting on installation, and 32 of those customers are requesting underground service.

Thus, TEPAConnect currently has 1,919 total paid customers. Smith said the past month has been particularly good for the efficiency of installations, and the installation process continues to be smooth.

Smith also provided an operations update. He advised that work progresses on the electrical line along Highway 2.

He said TEPA's Covid employee protocols expire Oct. 31, 2021. After discussion the board voted 8-1 to allow the protocols to expire, with Ricky Martin casting the dissenting vote.

Smith also provided an election update. He said that there would be an election for the seat occupied by Ricky Martin. Smith also went over the election section of TEPA's bylaws to refresh the board on those deadlines and processes.

Smith also discussed with the board whether to have the employee Christmas party, which the board approved by acclamation on the condition that the Covid numbers continue to decrease, and the workforce remains healthy prior to the event.

Smith also informed the board of general upkeep being done to TEPA's building and parking lot.

Ricky Dobbs moved to approve and adopt the minutes from the Sept. 9, 2021 regular meeting. Jimmy Huddleston seconded the motion, which was unanimously approved.

Kerry Cockrell presented the Cash Flow Statement for September 2021. Mark Johnson moved for the board to accept the statement and submit it for audit. Matt Orman seconded the motion. The motion was unanimously approved.

Greg Smith made a motion to adjourn, seconded by Matt Ormon, which the board unanimously approved. The meeting was adjourned with prayer, led by Jimmy Huddleston, at approximately 7:45 p.m.

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