LANSING, Mich. — The state Legislature this week sent the final pieces of the state budget to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for approval. If signed, the fiscal year 2022 budget would be complete.
State Sen. Kim LaSata led the charge on ensuring local projects in Berrien County received funding — including money to help build a high-priority radio frequency tower to assist local law enforcement agencies.
“This budget outlined many of our priorities going forward as a state, but also includes some major steps forward for the 21st District,” said LaSata, R-Coloma. “There’s an endless list of projects across the state, but my office was able to demonstrate both the need and public benefit these projects would bring to the district and we were able to secure this funding.”
Included in the budget approved by the Legislature are a number of projects specific to the 21st Senate District, including a $5 million investment in an 800 MHz frequency tower that will help improve communications coverage across Berrien County.
“This new tower will help will provide additional support to law enforcement and other first responders across Berrien County,” LaSata said.
Berrien County Administrator Brian Dissette applauded LaSata for securing these critical public safety funds.
“On behalf of Berrien County leadership, I’m pleased to note that Sen. LaSata, and her team, have been very helpful in securing funding for a new tower to assist with Berrien County 911 communications,” Dissette said. “Sen. LaSata has been a strong supporter of public safety and that’s why we went to her with this important request. We thought it was a long shot, but she delivered and secured significant funding for a new tower that will greatly help to fill signal gaps across Berrien County. These efforts will ensure local first responders are able to carry out their duties and keep residents safe.”
LaSata also fought for and was granted funding to complete a permanent police and fire location at the Berrien County Youth Fairgrounds. The building would be used as a permanent base to house police, fire and EMS personnel during special events at the fairgrounds. The facility could also be utilized during non-event times, for the purposes of training or meetings for any of the public safety agencies throughout Berrien County, as it is a central location.
Corey Burks, president of the Berrien County Youth Fair Board and captain of the Berrien Springs-Oronoko Fire Department, called this a victory not only for the fair, but for public safety as well.
“Sen. LaSata was instrumental in securing the funding for a permanent public safety building at the fairgrounds,” Burks said. “Thanks to her leadership our first responders will be better equipped and able to respond more quickly to any onsite emergencies. I appreciate her commitment to public safety and the fairgrounds — which holds a special place in our community.”