Tire redemption program becomes victim of its own success - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Tire redemption program becomes victim of its own success

One dollar was offered for each tire collected. One dollar was offered for each tire collected.

By Nick Kenney - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The city of Memphis was forced to put the brakes on its tire redemption program Tuesday as it ran out of money.

At the tire collection site, Memphian Floyd Simpson hauled in 180 busted, raggedy old tires he said he worked hard to collect.

"I went down in ditches, over in empty fields, and everywhere pulling these tires," he said.

Simpson, and dozens of others like him, found themselves parked in an endless line Tuesday morning, the third day of Memphis' Tire Redemption Program.  Offering a dollar for reach tire turned in, city officials were ready to collect the tires and dispose of them.

"I just need a little extra money," said Willie Nathaniel as he waited in line.

But at Memphis City Hall, City Council member Harold Collins said the program had become a victim of it's own success.

"We are discontinuing the program because we are running out of money," he said.

The program's budget was $100,000, minus a $40,000 operating fee.  By the end of the third day, officials estimated they had collected more than 53,000 tires, drying up available funds.

"If you collected tires, don't go dumping them on the street corner and taking them back to where you found them," Collins said. "Take them to MAX tires and we'll take care of them from there."

But for those in line, there was good news.  Anyone still in line at noon Tuesday was given a voucher.  If their tires were not collected by the end of business Tuesday, anyone with a voucher would be allowed to return in the morning an still collect a dollar per tire.

'I've got to pay bills," Simpson said as he waited in line. "That's the best I can do."

Collins and fellow City Council member Steve Mulroy said they plan to ask for more money to restart the program in January.

Copyright 2009 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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