MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - The Cash for Tires program may be short on cash. Instead of $100,000 to get tires off the streets, it may be half that. The Shelby County Mayor says he has some serious questions about who's really benefiting from the program.
The Memphis City Council gave preliminary approval to spend money on the Cash for Tires program. Council members thought the city would kick in $50,000 and the county would do the same.
Drive around town and you'll see tires piling up on the streets. The Cash for Tires program paid people to turn them in.
County Commissioner Steve Mulroy says he was told by county administrators if the city kicked in money for the Cash for Tires the county would too.
"The whole idea was this would be a joint city-county enterprise and each would kick in an equal amount of money," he said. "So I'd like to see that the county can hold up its end of the deal."
But Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell says there was no deal.
"We never made any commitment on this whatsoever."
"So you guys are not considering the Cash for Tires program?"
"No, it has not presented to me as a proposal; it has not been presented to the county commission in a proposal."
Luttrell says the county committed an extra $600,000 this year to fight blight, and has its own plan of action on tires. This winter county crews will hit the streets cleaning up illegal dump sites.
Insiders tell ABC24 News the reason the county has backed off the Cash for Tires program is concern tire dealers took advantage of the program instead of properly disposing of tires.
"Is there some abuse of the process? No system is perfect; there might be some abuse of the process. But at the end of the day, if we had to pay city and county crews to go out and pick up these tires it would be more expensive," Mulroy said.
The program pays people a buck a tire. Around 130,000 tires have been taken off the streets since 2009.
Mulroy plans to pitch the idea again to the Shelby County administration.