Nothing like county employees accused of messing around on the job to get your attention.
After this month's indictments of eight Shelby County title clerks for taking bribes in exchange for breaks on auto registrations, some of you are starting to take a closer look at YOUR registration renewal fees.
You might notice that you pay as many as five separate fees. That's more than $100 in fees, every single year.
Here's how they break down, according to Shelby County Clerk Debbie Stamson, Shelby County Finance Administrator Mike Swift and sources with the Memphis city finance division:
* $24 RENEWAL FEE. That's the flat renewal fee, mandated by the state of Tennessee.
* $2 EDP FEE. That is the Electronic Processing Fee. It pays for computer equipment and the maintenance of the county's computer system.
* $50 WHEEL TAX. The Shelby County wheel tax was passed in 1988 to fund new school construction. In 2001, the Shelby County Board of Commissioners jacked it up to $50 and allocated it to the schools' operating costs and debt service. This one's been controversial for years because our property taxes are also dedicated to funding the public schools.
* $2 POSTAGE/HANDLING FEE. This one's set by the state legislature, codified into law. If you don't like this one, you'll have to complain to your Tennessee state representative or senator: http://www.capitol.tn.gov/.
* MUNICIPALITY FEE. If you live within the Memphis city limits, it's $30. It goes to the city's general fund, but a big chunk of it covers the costs to operate the Memphis vehicle inspection stations. If you live in Bartlett, Germantown or Millington, it's $25, and it goes to those cities' general funds. If you registered your vehicle in Collierville, it's $20.
If you live in unincorporated Shelby County or in the part of Cordova that Memphis did not annex, you do not have to pay the municipality fee. If you did, the county owes you $30!
If you were incorrectly assessed a municipality fee with your vehicle registration renewal, contact the Shelby County Clerk's Office at 901-545-4244 or click here:
Contact your Memphis city council members here:
Reach your Shelby County commissioners here: