Sen. Zorn, Rep. Bellino secure significant funding for Monroe

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Dale Zorn and Rep. Joe Bellino announced the Port of Monroe and the Arthur Lesow Community Center (ALCC) in Monroe will receive nearly $13 million in funding as part of the final state budget approved Friday by the Legislature.

“This funding will help support long-term economic growth and provide high-wage jobs for area workers — with the benefit of helping reduce costs for Michigan businesses and consumers with a more efficient port,” said Zorn. R-Onsted. “I was happy to work with Rep. Bellino and Port Director Paul LaMarre to lead the discussion in Lansing to secure this key funding to support critical improvements at the Port of Monroe and help them better compete with ports in other Great Lakes states.”

“The Port of Monroe is slated to receive $5 million for fiscal year 2023,” said Bellino, R-Monroe. “This funding is crucial to an area very significant to Michigan’s economy that is in great need of workers, improvements and enhancements.”

The Port of Monroe, Michigan’s only port on Lake Erie, serves as a major catalyst for Michigan’s multimodal trading industry. A 2017 report found that 59.2 million tons of goods were transported through Michigan’s waterways, valued at $3.23 billion. The economic activity produced by commercial ports amounted to just over $4 million, backing nearly 26,000 jobs and raising $763 million in federal, state, and local tax revenue.

“The state of Michigan’s investment of $5 million will pay dividends and allow the port to leverage significant federal investment while ensuring that our community is at the epicenter of Michigan’s intermodal transportation network,” said Paul C. LaMarre III, director of the Port of Monroe. “Rep. Bellino and Sen. Zorn have been unrelenting in their commitment to the port, from the dock to the deck plates. They have been our champions in the state Legislature for which we are eternally grateful.”

“It’s extraordinary for me to witness such significant enhancements to an area that my family has lived in since coming to America in 1895,” Bellino said. “The Port of Monroe plays a significant role in Michigan’s economy. This much-needed funding will help Monroe continue to hire skilled employees, while improving and enhancing the port for years to come.”

The Arthur Lesow Community Center is slated to receive $7.8 million in funding.

“The ALCC is a great place for our community to gather as one,” Bellino said. “It serves as a prime communal gathering spot that also provides many experiences and services. The improvements made here will greatly benefit families and future generations.”

“This enhancement of the Arthur Lesow Community Center is exactly the type of positive, long-term investment that we should be making to benefit Michigan families for years to come, instead of just increasing the size of government,” Zorn said.


Zorn supports ‘historic’ FY23 state budget

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn on Friday voted to finalize a fiscal year 2023 state budget that increases record K-12 school funding and reserves resources to provide tax relief to Michigan families.

“We have finalized a responsible state budget that focuses on educating our children, supporting our economy, keeping our communities safe, and investing in our future — while paying down debt and saving money for much-needed tax relief for hardworking Michigan families,” said Zorn, R-Onsted. “This budget will dramatically improve our roads and infrastructure and build on our historic commitment to K-12 education — increasing K-12 school funding by almost $2.6 billion and directing millions of dollars to student mental health and school safety.

“This is a historic budget that will make long-term investments that will benefit our families for generations and make our state an even better place to live, work and achieve the American dream.”

Senate Bill 845 is an education omnibus budget that features a nearly $2.6 billion increase in K-12 school funding and boosts the minimum foundation allowance to $9,150 per student. It also provides $295 million to address student mental health, $305 million in scholarship funding to help address teacher shortages, and $168 million in school safety grants.

SB 845 includes a 5% increase for university and community college operations, $300 million to pay down debt in the higher education retirement system, and $250 million in a fund for a new student scholarship program, details for which will be negotiated this summer.

House Bill 5783 is the general omnibus budget and includes:

  • $2.3 billion to help fix local roads and bridges.
  • $1.7 billion to fix state highway roadways and bridges.
  • $750 million to help local governments meet their pension obligations and free up more funds for critical local services.
  • $325 million for a new state psychiatric hospital complex.
  • $414.5 million to maintain wage increases for direct care workers.
  • $110 million for the Going Pro and Michigan Reconnect training programs.
  • $40 million for the Pure Michigan tourism campaign.
  • $15 million for secondary road patrols.
  • Funding to train and hire 170 state police troopers and train 800 corrections officers.

“Locally, the budget includes $3 million for riverfront property development in Adrian that will benefit the community and attract more talent and opportunities,” Zorn said.