(WMC-TV) – The City of Memphis is changing protocol when it comes to vehicle inspections and what is considered passing and failing.
Vehicles registered inside Memphis city limits will no longer be required to pass an on-board diagnostic test in order to pass inspection.
All vehicles will still receive the test, but if it is failed, a tailpipe test will be performed. If the vehicle passes the tailpipe test, it will pass the inspection. If it fails both tests, it will not pass inspection.
"We know this has been a confusing, frustrating, and, at times, costly situation for our citizens," said Memphis Mayor A C Wharton, Jr. in a written statement. "After many in-depth discussions with state officials, we have determined that we have some latitude in this matter and we are choosing to exercise it."
The City of Memphis received written confirmation from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and the local air pollution control board that is not required to perform the on-board diagnostic testing.
This inspection change comes as another battle begins brewing between the city of Memphis and Shelby County.
The city is discussing de-funding their vehicle inspection program and turning the whole thing over to the county.
County residents do not pay for vehicles to be inspected for emissions testing; however, Memphis City Councilman Jim Strickland says county vehicles are likely contributing to environmental issues that only city vehicles are being tested for.
"The federal government has said that Shelby County has an ozone emissions problem. The entire Shelby County, not just the city of Memphis. Only the city of Memphis is doing auto inspections, so it's my belief we have a county problem, but only city residents are paying for it," said Strickland.
But Shelby County Commissioner Terry Roland does not like the idea of the county taking over auto inspections.
"It's kind of like dead beat parents that won't take care of their kids. They're looking to push their burden off on somebody else," said Roland.
Strickland says he wants the city to stop paying for emissions testing in the next 11 months.
"We probably have about 70 percent of the cars and so we're only 70 percent of the problem, but right now we're paying 100 percent of the solution, so I think it ought to transfer to the county and once the county takes it over our county taxes would pay for the solution," explained Strickland.
But Roland says do not expect the county to embrace the proposal without a fight.
Memphis City Council is expected to talk about the possibility of the county taking over auto inspections on Tuesday.