Council Resolution Seeks to End City Vehicle Inspection Program

By Andy Meek

Two Memphis City Council members are sponsoring a resolution that would make this year the final year the city funds its vehicle inspection program and would start a process of working to transfer that program to Shelby County.

Councilmen Jim Strickland and Shea Flinn are backing the resolution, which the council will hear in its executive session in the afternoon on Tues., July 17.

Strickland contends that county vehicles are likely contributing to environmental issues that only city vehicles are being tested for.

“And the city taxpayers are paying 100 percent of the emissions testing for a county problem,” Strickland said. “It’s my hope that the city stops funding it and the county picks up that responsibility. So, the point of this resolution is for this current year to be the last year the city does inspections.

“So, the city would stop doing them as of June 30, 2013.”

He said the resolution was born out of research surrounding the recent “check engine light” issue that has dogged city motorists. Until recently, inspection standards the city used could result in someone passing the vehicle emissions test but ultimately failing because the “check engine” light in their car is on for some unknown reason.

After questioning the city’s auto inspection standards for the last six months, council members recently voted to approve financial hardship waivers for virtually any citizen who failed the emissions standards test and checks a box on a form saying the repairs to fix the problem would be a financial hardship.

“I think the first step in this is to find out if the City Council agrees with me and Shea,” Strickland said. “The council may say we want to keep doing it, and then it would be a moot issue. But if the council agrees, then we’ve got 11 months to work with the county commission and county mayor to basically see if they’ll take over the program.”