Memphis City Council votes to eliminate funding for MSARC - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis City Council votes to eliminate funding for MSARC

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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - During budget hearing Wednesday night, a Memphis City Council committee voted 6-5 to cut all funding for the Memphis Sexual Assault Resource Center.

The move is contingent upon Shelby County or a third party taking over the rape crisis center's operations, and undermines Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton's pledge to keep the center under city control.

"Do we not care about the rape crisis center? Of course we do," said councilman Myron Lowery. "But it will remain...services will remain for all of our constituents."

Council member Barbara Ware voiced her concern for cutting funding to the center when there is no clear commitment from the county.

"I'm just saying to do it at the spur of the moment - I just don't think it's the right thing to do," she said.

Councilwoman Wanda Halbert agreed, saying, "I feel like we're jumping the gun a little bit." 

For many, MSARC became the a poster child for municipal mismanagement after a 14-year-old rape victim was turned away due to a staffing shortage.  

While the committee determined the center's fate, embattled division director Ken Moody and deputy director Yolanda McFadgon mostly sat and listened.  

The plan to unload MSARC must still gain approval from the full council. But if the county or a third party refuses to take it over, it will automatically return to the city's control.
    

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