MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - The City of Memphis is dumping its auto inspections on Shelby County, starting next June. County officials are still trying to figure out what to do, but it may mean every car and truck owner in all of Shelby County will end up in an inspection line.
A smoky car is a bad car. If you live in Memphis, you know that all too well. Shelby County officials have been told that the auto inspection business is their business. They might let the state do it, and if they do, all that car smoke will fire people up.
"We realize that this is not a subject of satisfaction of the citizens of Memphis," stated Harvey Kennedy, Chief Executive Officer for Shelby County. He's heading up a committee looking at how Shelby County should handle inspections.
According to Kennedy, "As of next June 30th, they will terminate the local vehicle emissions testing program the city has been carrying out."
All of this is happening because the air over Memphis, east Arkansas and north Mississippi is pretty stinky. If you remember this past summer, smog was so bad that the air quality was code purple - meaning people should basically stay indoors.
The feds don't like stinky air quality; that's why the cars in Memphis have had emissions tests for years. Memphis won't be running the program much longer.
"The idea has been that the county would just take care of the program. But we really don't have the jurisdictional authority just to implement a program in the city of Memphis."
Nothing is ever easy in Memphis. This is a nightmare of red tape and bureaucratic bunk.
"We have the authority to implement a vehicle emissions testing plan in the unincorporated areas, but you have to remember the municipalities have a lot to say about this."
So Kennedy says maybe they won't do anything. The state will take over and they'll do the emissions testing, and not just in Memphis.
Kennedy said, "My guess is - and again this is only a guess - based on what our legal folks are telling me, but it would likely be countywide."
Kennedy wants the committee to come up with its final recommendations by the end of next month. That would give everybody about six months to get ready to take over a program nobody wants.