Local I-Team: Shelby County Clerk says her team was left out of loop on MATA funding plan

Local I-Team

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – The Local I-Team has uncovered new information on the controversial plan to fund the Memphis Area Transit Authority, otherwise known as MATA.

If the county commission approves a proposed $145 sustainability fee, the Shelby County Clerk will be responsible for collecting the money.

Shelby County Clerk Wanda Halbert is pointing fingers at Mayor Lee Harris, saying he left her out of the loop on this entire plan.

Halbert says the first time she or anyone on her motor vehicle team heard about Mayor Lee Harris’ MATA plan was when the news broke to the public and county commission.

“It was a little disappointing that such an important initiative would be presented before the county commission and the public without the county clerk’s office knowing anything about it,” said Halbert.

Halbert questions why she and her staffers were not involved with a proposal to charge households with more than two cars an annual $145 sustainability fee. This week Harris introduced a plan to commissioners. If the commission approves it, Halbert’s office would be responsible for collecting the money and she questions if she can even do exactly what the mayor wants her to do.

“We’re not exactly sure. We’re just not sure,” she said.

Harris says there’s a reason he didn’t tell Halbert ahead of time.

“My pledge to the county commission was that I would bring items to them first. That is what I thought was the best course,” said Mayor Harris.

Halbert says just like the commission, she too is an elected official and says she deserves the same respect. 

“Why would we not be at the table and have an opportunity to know,” said Halbert.

Halbert and Lee are scheduled to meet Friday.

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