MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Vehicle emission inspections are mandatory in Memphis; it's state law. But soon there's a chance there won't be anybody willing to pay to run the car inspection programs.
What we have here is a burgeoning boondoggle. We know the city plans on dumping the auto inspection program in June, because it loses almost three million bucks a year. We know Shelby County won't run it, so that leaves the good old State of Tennessee.
And that's where the problems begin.
According to Memphis City Councilman Jim Strickland, "One of [the problems] was if the state took over, they could not really do a countywide inspection for about two years, because they would have to build inspection stations in the suburbs."
The state says, give us a few years. The trouble is the environmental protection agency says Shelby County's air is so bad, something needs to be done right now.
"It was suggested that the local government, either county or city, should continue the process of the inspections," Strickland said.
Sure, the programs should continue, but somebody has to pay for the inspections. Shelby County officials say, not them. The City of Memphis is getting out of the business in June... Isn't it?
"I think everybody is clear the city will no longer pay one hundred percent, but if someone was to contract with us, we might do that on a short term basis."
The only thing we really know right now is the city still wants to give up doing inspections by the end of June. As to what happens after that, is anyone's guess.
More than 30 city employees with the Vehicle Inspection Bureau have already received notice their positions will be terminated as of June 30.