Council approves additional funding for Cramer Children’s Center
During the Russellville City Council’s Dec. 19 work session, Kim Bevis spoke on behalf of the Cramer Children’s Center, based in Florence, to request additional funding for the child advocacy facility.
“Our funding has been significantly cut over the past three years,” explained Bevis. “We’ve seen an 11 percent decrease in our victims of crime assistance money, which is basically the money that we get to do the work that we do.”
Although Bevis sought a portion of the city’s American Rescue Plan Act funds, Russellville Mayor David Grissom explained that while the ARPA money had already been fully committed for other projects, he recommended an increase in the center’s appropriation by an additional $10,000. This amount will be spread out over three years, drawn from the city’s general fund. That amounts to approximately $3,300 extra per year, in addition to the $2,500 the city already appropriates each year.
The council approved this plan.
Bevis said the center serves victims of child abuse and neglect, mainly sexual abuse. She said they have seen “a tremendous increase since COVID” in the number of clients coming to the center.
According to its website, the facility’s services include those for forensic interview, mental health, medical, family and victim advocacy and coordination of investigations by a multidisciplinary team.
“Last year (2021) we served 454 children with all of our centers,” added Bevis. “We have three centers and serve a five-county area. Out of those 454 cases, 104 were from Russellville. This year (2022) we’ve served 433 cases within our five-county area, and 113 of those were from Russellville.”
Bevis said the center recently lost a staff member because of lack of funding, and she hopes the increase might allow her to hire another employee.
To learn more about Cramer Children’s Center, visit https://cramerchildrenscenter.com.
In other business, the council approved:
- Adjustment of pay grades for police officers hired at the previous council meeting based on years of experience.
- A resolution to accept a $500 donation from Cotton Flats Cruisers for the Russellville Fire Department.
- A resolution to accept sealed bids for street materials in the Russellville Street Department. Grissom said a portion of the bids were approved, but others were not received, thus creating the need to send those bids out again.
- A resolution to declare an air compressor tank surplus in the Russellville Street Department.
- Approved a city match increase for the purchase of extrication tools through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant in the amount of $204.06.