MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Shelby County drivers beware. Memphis Mayor A C Wharton says if you use Memphis city roads and services during your commute in and out of the city, you should be forced to get your car inspected and pay for it as well.
This is the first time the mayor has talked about the controversial plan from City Councilman Ed Ford Jr. It would charge everybody seven dollars for inspections, and would also force those who come into the city two or more times a week to get inspections.
Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell doesn't think the idea is very good. Memphis needs to come up with other ways to raise money, he says.
Mayor A C Wharton, on the other hand, says the city loses close to $3 million a year on inspections. County residents' cars contribute to smog as well, so cough up the dough.
There are days when taking a big deep gulp of Memphis air is like sucking mud through a straw. It's a treat for smog lovers, but not for many others.
Don't forget Memphis is broke.
"Well they avail themselves of the services we provide. And I think it's only fair that they share in the costs," said Mayor Wharton. "If people are in here from Milwaukee and stay in a hotel room, they pay the hotel/motel tax. They don't live here."
They don't live here and they might never live here, according to Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrel, especially if the city council approves ford's plan that would charge not only city residents more for inspections but force paid inspections on those who come into Memphis more than twice a week.
Luttrell said, "I don't support that idea at all. I don't think that's the right way to deal with concerns of the city budget."
What we don't have here is failure to communicate. Both mayors Luttrell and Wharton seem to be communicating pretty well on how they feel about this plan.
"I think it's a fair plan," Wharton maintained. He says right now the inspections are paid by all property tax payers in Memphis, and that's not fair.
"If you do not have a vehicle, or you're retired, you're paying for services you never use. You're not driving at all, so why add that into the property tax, and that's what we have to do now. Three million dollars a year for your inspections is 3 cents on your property tax."
The plan has definitely divided the city and the county - again - as suburban mayors in Collierville, Bartlett and Millington have all come out against the Ford plan.