Lamar Electric’s New Headquarters

Lamar Electric’s new headquarters is expected to be completed in June of this year.

Lamar Electric’s building progress as of February 2020.

Lamar Electric’s New Headquarters

 

Lamar Electric Cooperative is relocating its headquarters this year after 85 years of being located in downtown Paris, Texas. Lamar Electric has outgrown its current facility that was built in 1949. There is not enough room at the current location to park all the trucks or equipment. According to General Manager Jerry Williams, the current building has been added-on to several times and has issues you would expect from a 1949 structure. Due to the physical limitations and the expense of bringing the current facility to modern day code, Williams said it would not be cost effective to remodel. The new site is located just west of Blossom, Texas on U.S. Highway 82. Although the cooperative has been headquartered in downtown Paris, it does not serve anything inside the loop of Paris. This new location will allow the rural electric co-op to be more centrally located for its members in their service area. Lamar Electric provides electricity to over 12,600 meters in the rural areas of Red River, Delta and Lamar counties.

The new building will be a free-standing metal structure with brick and Texas stone on the front portion. The 14,000 square foot office will have a drive-thru lane that will feature a drive-up drawer instead of the previous tube for transacting business. This will facilitate better eye contact and easier communication with the cooperative members. Highway 82 already has a turning lane providing easier access and visibility for members. Trucks and trailers loaded with poles can enter and exit the facility easier because there are two active lanes in each direction. The boulevard entrance area will allow a better flow of traffic exiting the building onto an open highway instead of onto a crowded city street.

Lamar Electric’s new building will feature a 4,000 square foot meeting room that will hold about 250 people. Cooperative members will be able to use the meeting room for family reunions, wedding showers, anniversary parties, birthday parties, and other events. The meeting room is a benefit provided to the members free of charge other than a cleaning fee. This area will be locked off from the main building during events. It will have a separate parking area and entrance as well as its own private restrooms. This will allow members to use the meeting room without disturbing people conducting business in the office area. The room includes a kitchen with three ovens, refrigerator, and ice machine. Williams said, “The ovens should help with members serving warm casseroles and rolls, using the serving line on one side of the kitchen.” The meeting room will have tables and chairs available in a storage room. A concrete slab will be located in the back where BBQ grills or fish cookers can be parked and have easy access to the back door. Members will be able to use this facility on weekdays or weekends. “This facility is paid for by the cooperative members and can only be reserved by a cooperative member,” Williams said. Most families or groups will include a cooperative member that can be responsible for the reservation according to Williams.

A 5,000 square foot warehouse area will provide space to store materials used to maintain the electric lines. Pallet racks and a fork lift will be used to more efficiently store material. Enough materials will be maintained to handle most large storms without bringing in additional materials.

According to Williams, “The most energy efficient method for heating and cooling any building is an earth coupled heat pump.” This technology has been around for over 60 years but still not widely used in residential housing in Texas. According to Williams, “The new office and meeting room will be entirely heated and cooled with water circulated in the connected earth loop. No auxiliary or back up heat is needed.” Water will be circulated through 18,000 feet of plastic pipe that is buried in the ground behind the building. This will allow people using the meeting room or conducting business to experience how efficient and comfortable an earth coupled system can be.

In the event of an ice storm, there is lots of compacted gravel parking space to bring in outside crews from surrounding cooperatives to assist with restoring power to the area if needed. Unlike the current facility, Lamar Electric will be the electricity provider for the building at the new rural location. An emergency back-up generator will continue to power the entire complex in the event of a power loss. The back-up generator will provide power to all systems in the event of a power failure. Being able to send a signal to the meters to see if they are energized, will help with power restoration. This helps dispatch identify members that may still be without power and to communicate with the linemen in the field. Williams said future plans include a fueling station for co-op trucks. The new facilities are designed to allow the cooperative to effectively make needed repairs, regardless of how bad the weather is. The goal is to provide reliable electric power to the cooperative members in the rural areas of Lamar, Red River, and Delta counties.

Mr. Williams stated, “Members/customers of Lamar Electric will not have any rate increase because of the building project and no increase is expected in the next few years.” Williams explained that all Lamar customers had a two cent per kWh rate reduction as of January 1, 2018, with another quarter cent kWh reduction on January 1, 2019 and approximately another quarter cent per kWh reduction as of January 1, 2020. Over all their retail rates have recently gone down around 2 ½ cents and the current wholesale power contract is locked in through 2022.

McInnis Brothers Construction is the general contractor with much of the work being done by local sub-contractors. KSA Engineering is the architect for the project. Both McInnis and KSA are well known locally; having done projects for the City of Paris. Depending on weather, the building is expected to be completed in June of this year.

 


Employees Recognized for Years of Service

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Pictured, left to right: Bryan Story, Michael Sorensen, Will Armstrong, Larry Bills, Jerry Williams, DeLana McFadden, Wade Niblett, B.J. McCoy, Drew Conder, Ryan Dean and Jose Recendiz. Not Pictured: George Wood.

 

Lamar Electric Cooperative recently recognized its employees for years of service and to show recognition and appreciation for the employees’ commitment to the company as well as their performance.

Every year the co-op celebrates employees’ work anniversaries in five year increments. Each employee and board member recognized was presented with a service award plaque celebrating their tenure with the company. The 12 recognized for reaching a service milestone in 2019, comprise 220 years of service to the community.

“We are proud of the dedicated and professional team that works to keep the electricity on for our members.” said Jerry Williams, Lamar Electric’s general manager. “It is not uncommon for an employee in a rural electric co-op to join the family and still be a member of that family 40 years later. Someone who has worked that long with one organization has dedicated a lifetime of service.” According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median number of years that wage and salary workers had been with their current employer was 4.2 years in January 2018.

“Lamar Electric values its staff and employee retention,” Williams said.

Employees recognized include: 45 years of service — Wade Niblett; 40 years of service — Will Armstrong and Larry Bills; 20 years of service — Drew Conder; 15 years of service — Ryan Dean; 10 years of service — DeLana McFadden, Jose Recendiz, Michael Sorensen and Jerry Williams; and 5 years of service — B.J. McCoy and Bryan Story.

The president of the board, George Wood, was also recognized for serving on the board of directors for 10 years.


Our 2019 Christmas Coloring Contest has come to a close! Thank you so very much to all of the participants that turned in beautiful artwork. We proudly displayed each coloring page at our office.

We had several judges and came up with the following winners…

K-1st Grade 

2nd-3rd Grade Winners

4th-5th Grade Winners

Each participant had their artwork prominently displayed on the wall at the co-op during the holiday season.

 


Checks Uncashed

In June 2018 we issued many capital credit checks. Several have gone uncashed. Some of the recipients of these checks are listed here. These people or businesses need to contact us in order for us to reissue the check. Our number is 903-784-4303.


Ag Exemptions Expiring

Ag Exemptions Expiring

If you are claiming a sales tax exemption on electricity used in the production of agricultural or timber products, you must renew your exemption by December 31 through the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. Otherwise, the co-op will be required to charge sales tax beginning in January. In addition, you will need to provide a new tax exemption certificate to Lamar Electric Cooperative by January 1.

How To Renew Exemption Registration

There are several options for renewing your exemption registration: online, by phone or by mail. Renewal by phone is the easiest. Simply dial 1-844-247-3639 any time day or night and the phone system will ask you to key in your existing exemption number. That is all you have to do. Those applying by phone will receive their new registration card by mail in about seven days. Renewal by mail requires you to return a copy of your reminder letter and could take 4-6 weeks.

Renewal can also be done online by accessing: www.comptroller.texas.gov/taxes/ag-timber/. If you want to renew online, you will be first asked to log in with your user id and password. You will then need the “webfile number” from your reminder letter. Online is a bit more complicated but in the end, you can print your own new registration card.

For more information, contact the comptroller’s office at www.comptroller.texas.gov or call 1-800-252-5555.

What To Do When Your New Registration Arrives

Once you have received your renewed registration card in the mail, you will need to fill out the appropriate sales and use tax exemption certificate. A copy of the renewed registration card along with a completed tax exemption certificate needs to be turned in to the Lamar Electric Co-op office or e-mailed to DeLana McFadden at delana@lamarelectric.coop.

You can pick up the blank agricultural exemption and timber exemption certificate forms in our office located at 1485 North Main, Paris, Texas 75460. You can also print these forms from our website at www.lamarelectric.coop. Look under forms and applications on the left side of the webpage