As people around the world look forward to the New Year, Judge-Executive Al Mattingly said he is pleased with how 2021 played out for Daviess Fiscal Court.

Looking back over the past year, Mattingly said Wednesday that one of the things he is most pleased with is that the county was able to reduce the insurance premium tax.

“That was put on back in 2009 to pay for the county’s portion of the convention center, and we will finish that reduction in the coming year,” he said. “When you are able to reduce taxes for folks, it is always a good thing.”

Mattingly said fiscal court increased the insurance premium tax rate from 4.9% to 8.9% in 2009, and it was lowered to 7.2% this year.

“Then we will go from 7.2% to 4.9%, and 4.9% is what it had been forever,” Mattingly said.

Mattingly said being able to present the people of Daviess County with a balanced budget that receives a clean review by auditors is something else that he is proud of.

In regards to building projects, Mattingly said the improvements to Horse Fork Creek Park are particularly satisfying.

Located at 3005 Fairview Drive, the park has grown up in recent years, adding a spray park, an all-inclusive playground and permanent restroom facilities.

Mattingly said the additions to the park were done in stages, the most recent being the restroom facilities.

“Those particular restroom facilities are close to the Greenbelt and are open year-round for folks that are using the Greenbelt, as well as the spray park and playground for all,” he said. “I think that was really something that we were very pleased with.”

While the COVID-19 pandemic has continued throughout 2021, a significant development this year regarding the pandemic was the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.

Mattingly said the county did everything it could to keep members of the community informed about pandemic updates and the vaccines.

“We held many, almost weekly Facebook live sessions, bringing in people talking about the pandemic, talking about the vaccine,” Mattingly said. “I don’t know what else we could have done without just completely locking everything down, and I don’t believe anybody wanted that.”

Mattingly said that before the vaccine rollout this year, the best tools the public had to protect themselves against the pandemic were masks, social distancing and frequent hand washing. But now that has changed.

“I am disappointed that more people haven’t taken advantage of the vaccine and the boosters,” he said. “Regardless of what anybody says, the number one defense is the vaccine.”

As the New Year comes and Mattingly enters the final year of his time as judge-executive, he said he wants to keep making progress on projects fiscal court has been working on.

“The biggest goal would be to again have a balanced budget and to make a determination on how the CARES Act money that the county received will be spent,” he said. “We are trying to determine the best manner in which to spend that money and to spend it where it will have a long-term or lasting effect on the county, with an eye towards making sure that we don’t do anything that would create a burden on the next fiscal court or the citizens of Daviess County — meaning we don’t use this one time money for reoccurring expenses.”

Mattingly, who was elected as judge-executive since 2010, announced in July that he will not seek a fourth term.

Nathan Havenner, Messenger-Inquirer, nhavenner@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-228-2837

Nathan Havenner, Messenger-Inquirer, nhavenner@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-228-2837

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