MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Hello, is this ABC? I’ve got a great lineup of new daytime soaps for you. We live in Memphis and Shelby County, and you’ve probably heard about our high ozone levels. Get this: how about a story about living in Memphis and Shelby County called "ONE SMOG TO BREATHE". Of course, if All My Children breathe that polluted air then they’ll have to go to General Hospital in a car that will have to be inspected by somebody. The trouble is, nobody wants to do it.
Some on the Memphis City Council say let Shelby County handle it. “This is a county issue that Memphis is dealing with,” says City Council member Shea Flinn. “We think the county should run the facilities, pay for the testing, and determine who will be tested and who won’t be tested.”
If Shea Flinn and council member Jim Strickland have their way, Shelby County would pick up the program, which costs $2 million a year, and loses roughly $200,000 every year. You might just be able to imagine how Shelby County Commissioner Sidney Chism feels about that great opportunity. “If they’ve got an asset that is losing money,” Chism says, “why would we want it?”
The answer is Shelby County might not want it, but might in fact deserve it. The county is violating air quality ozone levels. Council members Flinn and Strickland feel that if people are coughing because of pollution, then Shelby County ought to cough up the dough for the program.
According to their proposal, the city would run auto inspections until the end of June next year. Emissions testing must continue, according to Steve Shular of Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell’s office, because stopping those tests would lead to troubles. “It could lead to some fines,” Shular says. “It could lead to some reduction in funding from the federal government. So we’re going to have to take a look at this. At the same time, we’ve got to make sure operationally it’s something we’re going to be able to do.”
There are other options, according to Shular. The state could handle the inspections, a private company could do them, or they could be turned over to service stations in Shelby County.