MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Memphis City Council is putting the brakes on car inspections. Residents will still need one but the City no longer wants to pay for it. The City Council voted Tuesday night to stop paying for the vehicle inspection program next July.
From that pesky check engine light to a proposed fee for non-Memphians driving into the city, the vehicle inspection program just can't stay out of the limelight. Councilman Joe Brown told the council, "We need auto inspection, we need to make sure we're not polluting the air." That's one thing everyone on City Council agreed with, but not everyone agreed to where the funding should come from.
This year the city is paying $2.8 million to check Memphis cars. Councilman Jim Strickland says it's not fair and it's not right. "Shelby County is responsible for air pollution, Shelby County has been found in non attainment, violating the EPA regulations, but only one group of citizens are paying for the inspections, and that's Memphis."
57 percent of cars driven in Shelby County are from Memphis, the other 43 percent come from the County, and they don't pay a dime. Strickland says, "We are paying 100 percent a solution that we are only 57 percent at fault, therefore we should stop funding at the end of this fiscal year."
Aside from Joe Brown and Janis Fullilove, the council agreed. For the next several months Council members will try to get the County to take over the program, with the City paying a pro-rated share. Shea Flinn says, "This is not the end to inspections, this is the end to only Memphians paying for inspections, fair is fair."
If the County refuses to pay, the state will be forced to take it over and contract out the service. A spokesperson for the County says they are under no obligation to take over the inspection stations and will make a decision once they've explored all the options.