County hires firm to negotiate fiber internet contract

Jan. 14—Daviess Fiscal Court is one step closer to entering into a contract with a broadband service provider in an effort to bring high-speed fiber internet to rural Daviess County.

During its regular meeting Thursday, Fiscal Court unanimously approved a contract with Morley and Associates Inc. for contract preparation and negotiation in connection with the project.

Morley and Associates Inc. of Newburgh, Indiana, will be paid a fixed fee of $9,700 by the county for its services.

Jordan Johnson, assistant county treasurer, said before the meeting Thursday that Daviess County received five responses to its request for proposals for broadband service. Responses were received from Conexon Inc., ATT, Matrix Design Group, Spectrum and Watch Communications.

While the county has selected the Kansas City, Missouri-based Conexon Inc. as the successful proposal, a final deal has not yet been reached.

"Until the contract is signed, we don't have a deal with anyone," County Treasurer Jim Hendrix said during the meeting. "Right now, we know who we think it is going to be, subject to a mutually agreeable contract."

Johnson said that because the contract was still in the negotiation phase; he could not comment on the overall budget for the project.

Judge-Executive Al Mattingly said during his State of the County address earlier this month that he was proposing Daviess County utilize the nearly $20 million received through the American Rescue Plan Act to, "implement a public-private partnership, bringing affordable and reliable high-speed broadband to the unincorporated areas of Daviess County."

Johnson said the county is looking to move forward with the project rather quickly.

"We have some target dates. We are hoping to have the contract drafted within the next two months, and then work would begin immediately," he said. "Tonight's agenda item will be to hire Morley and Associates to negotiate on the county's behalf and draft a contract that will come back to Fiscal Court for final approval and that is when they will commit to the project."

Nathan Havenner, Messenger-Inquirer,, 270-228-2837