Daviess County Fiscal Court will issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) to provide high-speed internet to every home and business outside the OMU service territory.
“Daviess County is rapidly falling behind some other counties in the Commonwealth, specifically Boone, Scott, Warren, Christian, Lyon, and Caldwell,” said Judge-Executive Al Mattingly.
“They have all issued Request for Proposals regarding putting broadband into their communities,” he added.
Daviess County will receive approximately $19.6 million in federal funding through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). While final guidance on the spending isn’t expected until the end of September, broadband has been mentioned specifically as a qualified use.
Fiscal Court accepted public comments on the ARPA funds through an online form between August 4-16. In that survey, over half of the responses mentioned broadband and the need to invest in infrastructure.
“The past few years, we’ve heard complaints about the lack of high-quality internet,” Mattingly said. “The Request for Proposals (RFP) does not commit any funds to the project. It just says, ‘Hey, we want to take broadband throughout the County, serving those who probably would not be able to get broadband unless it was pushed out into the various communities.’ Tell us your proposals.”
Mattingly anticipates scheduling a work session for the Fiscal Court to review the proposals.
“And it may be the Commission decides not to spend the money in that way, but at least we will try to stay ahead of those other counties,” he added.
Mattingly believes fiber resources will become scarce and the cost will increase significantly in the future.
“Even more so, the resource of installation labor will be gone,” he concluded. “Contracts will be issued and you won’t be able to find someone to do the installation.”
OMU has already committed to providing broadband inside its service territory.
The County’s Request for Proposals (RFP) will likely go out next week (Sept. 7-10), and the Commission will review the submissions in October.
Gryphon Environmental Expansion
Fiscal Court had the first reading of an ordinance that would authorize a rebate of 0.50% of occupational license fees from new employees of Gryphon Environmental.
David Smith, Director of Legislative Services, explained that Gryphon applied for incentives under the Kentucky Business Investment (KBI) program in 2017. Gryphon received preliminary approval, but the company has since relocated from the corporate limits of Owensboro to the County on Industrial Drive.
“Therefore, in order to go to final approval, we have to pass this ordinance,” he added.
Smith said Gryphon started with seven employees and will be required to hit certain employment and hourly wage targets. These requirements were outlined in the application for incentives under the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority.
Fiscal Court will have the second reading on the occupational license fee ordinance on September 16th.
Utility Assistance Project
Daviess County will receive $200,000 in utility relief funds under the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) CARES Program.
Fiscal Court finalized a contract with the Green River Area Development District (GRADD) to administer the grant program with Audubon Area Community Services, Inc.
Judge-Executive Al Mattingly said the funds should be available in time for the winter months. The County is awaiting formal approval from the Department for Local Government.
The program would assist Daviess County residents who are behind on their utility bills due to COVID-related issues.
Fiscal Court approved a budget amendment that accounts for the utility assistance funds, as they were originally expected in the prior year.
Gizzard Shad at Panther Creek Park Lake
The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife has been granted permission to treat the lake at Panther Creek Park for gizzard shad.
“They treated it before in 2009,” explained Judge-Executive Al Mattingly. “But spring floodwater in 2018 got into the lake and brought the shad back and they are overpopulating, causing the sport fishing to suffer.”
Mattingly has asked the state to delay treating the lake until after the ‘Christmas at Panther Creek’ holiday lights display. The work will occur sometime early next year.
Panther Creek Park participates in the Fishing in Neighborhoods (FINs) program through Fish & Wildlife. The lake is stocked throughout the year with rainbow trout and catfish.
County Engineer Mark Brasher said he expects to receive a structural report on the fire tower at Panther Creek Park within days.
Commissioner George Wathen invited everyone to attend the Independence Bank Fireworks Festival at Panther Creek Park. Live musical entertainment will begin at 6 p.m. with the fireworks at 8:15 p.m. on Saturday, September 4th.
Judge-Executive Al Mattingly acknowledged the Hayden family of Knottsville for their induction in the Kentucky 4-H Family Hall of Fame. Joan, Martin, sons David and Daniel, and daughter-in-law Danielle were recognized at this year’s Kentucky State Fair in Louisville.
Owensboro’s Timothy Davis represented Team USA in Olympic Weightlifting at the 2021 Youth Pan-American Championships in Monterrey, Mexico. Davis achieved a personal best and set a Pan-American record, winning gold medals in multiple categories.
Joshua Vance will join the Solid Waste Department as Heavy Equipment Operator.
Brooke Hagan has been promoted to Administrative Assistant in the Department of Administrative Services.
Susan Montalvo-Gesser and Harry Pedigo were reappointed to the Daviess County Library Board for four-year terms.
Harini Cardwell was reappointed to the RiverPark Center Board for a three-year term.
The Court appointed Demarcus Curry and Dr. Ronsonlyn Clark to the Drug Free Owensboro – Daviess County Steering Committee for three-year terms.
Laura Chapman will serve a three-year term on the Owensboro Health Board.