Domestic violence victim Ellie, holding her young son, told the Cannon County Commission Saturday that it needed to do something to help fund SAVE.
After hearing the heart-wrenching stories and impassioned pleas of several victims of domestic violence Saturday, the Cannon County Commission voted to make a donation to the agency which exists to provide them with services.
"A year ago I could not have got up and spoke to you like this, but with the help of Lisa (Baird) and SAVE I'm starting to get my life back," Karen, one of the domestic violence victims, told the commissioners.
Baird is the director of SAVE, and she has been working diligently to raise money to keep the agency in operation.
SAVE's services to domestic violence include Orders of Protection, counseling, 24 hour crisis line and continued education (GED prep, computer skills training, literacy assistance). SAVE also provides assistance with food, clothing, diapers, transitional housing and job skills training (applications, interviewing skills, resumes etc.).
"If it (SAVE) was not here I would probably be dead," Karen said. "He (her husband) told me that before I got a divorce he would see me burn in hell first."
Karen said that with the help of Baird and SAVE, her divorce is expected to be finalized this coming Monday.
The commissioner also heard from a young mother, Ellie, who held her son while she spoke. "I was abused by my husband. He's in jail. I grew up with domestic violence and there are children out here growing up with it and I will not let my son grow up in it and with Lisa's help I made my stand on May 22."
Another victim of domestic violence said, "My family and friends couldn't help me but Lisa did. When I needed to confront him, Lisa helped me confront my demon. She has been my rock. I am not asking you to give her a lot, just help her."
Baird said she has been working without pay for over three months, thanks to the help of caring citizens in the community.
"We understand money is tight and times are tough but we do need help," Baird said. "Our community can't afford to have SAVE shut down again. We are dealing with people's lives, and we are trying to help them take it back."
Following the presentation, Commissioner Mark Barker said, "I think we need this (SAVE). We have helped with other things that are less critical. It is a sad fact of life that these things happen and we do need this service."
Commissioner Kevin George said, "I don't have any problem giving her money, but I do have a problem putting it on one of our budget lines." George said he had received calls from about 30 people who objected to taxes being raised to give money to SAVE.
Barker made a motion to contribute $3,000 to SAVE, and it was seconded by Commissioner Todd Hollandsworth. The motion passed by a vote of 9-0 (Commissioner Karen Ashford was unable to attend Saturday's special called meeting.)
The $3,000 will come out of the current (2009-2010) fiscal year budget, which ends June 30. The commission contributed $2,000 to SAVE in January. County Executive Mike Gannon told Baird after the vote that she could come by his office Monday for the money.
In other business Saturday the commissioners:
• Voted to enter into an agreement with Paducah, Ky.-based Medical Accounts Receivable Services (MARS) to outsource the billing for the Cannon County Ambulance Service.
MARS will provide rugged laptop computers for paramedics and emergency medical technicians to use when collecting information about a patient as they travel in an ambulance.
MARS touts its service as the answer to billing issues faced by hospitals, medical offices and places like a county's emergency medical service.
"Regardless of specialty, location or need, MARS can provide a turnkey outsource billing solution to your free standing or hospital based practice," the company Web site states. "Our services result (in) lower costs to bill, increased recoveries, decreased days outstanding and a complete understanding of what is going on with your receivables and collections."
The agreement with Cannon County is contingent on a review of the contract by the county attorney.
• Approved Litter Grant Resolution 2010-4 for 2010/2011.
• Approved Continuing Budget Resolution 2010-5 for 2010/2011.
• Approved budget amendments to the County General Fund.
• Approved budget amendments to Solid Waste.
• Approved budget amendments to Highway Department.
• Approve the detailed supplement of the Cannon County Library System Budget to the existing 09/10 Cannon County Budget. Due to a recent change in accounting standards, it is not required that that the revenues to the library and payment of expenses be handled by the county and included in the county budget plan.
• Appointed Dale Bush, Angie Ott and Peggy Tate to the Library Trustee Board.
• Received a questionnaire from Neal Appelbaum, who is working on a Strategic Plan for 3-Star Certification for the county. Appelbaum is seeking input from the commissioners on what they think are the highest priority issues facing Cannon County.
Appelbaum is scheduled to have the strategic plan ready for approval by the commission when it meets July 17 for its regularly scheduled quarterly meeting.