State lawmakers, veterans show support for veterans counselor millage

MARQUETTE — Upper Peninsula lawmakers and Marquette County veterans gathered at the Jacobetti Home for Veterans Monday to raise support for a special millage on the November ballot.

The Marquette County Veterans Alliance, along with State Senator Tom Casperson and State Representatives John Kivela and Scott Dianda voiced their support for a veterans counselor.

Marquette County one of twelve counties in the state without a veterans counselor.

“There’s no specific place for a veteran to go to try and get started for help and what we want to do is give them that place to go,” Marquette County Veterans Alliance chairman Jim Provost said. “We also want the counselor to be mobile counselor, so he’s going to get out to some of the outlying communities and work with veterans that can’t get into the city of Marquette.

“So we need to help out veterans out there, and there’s a lot of them that have benefits coming that they don’t know about, and we’re going to try to inform them of what they have coming.”

“We have a lot of veterans in Marquette County, all over Michigan that are really lacking in a lot of the services,” State Representative John Kivela (D-Marquette) said. “A lot of times they simply don’t know about the services or they have a hard time accessing them, so I think this is a great step.”

The millage would authorize a levy of a tenth of a mill on all taxable property within Marquette County.  If the proposal is passed, it would raise over a quarter million dollars in its first year for the counselor.

“These are the people that put their lives on the line to protect the very things that we enjoy in life,” Kivela said. “I think a tenth of a mil is a small price to pay.”

“The cost is not that much,” Provost said. “If you have a house that’s valued at $100,000 it’s going to cost you $10 for the year; if it’s $50,000 it’ll cost you $2.50 for the year. It’s a small price to pay to help the veterans.”

The funds would also help support transportation to medical appointments to the 6,400 veterans that live in Marquette County.