Metro Council approved a $4 increase Tuesday night in the charge for auto emissions testing, bringing the total charge to Davidson County motorists to $10.
Don Jones, the council's lawyer, said that since 1981, when the city contracted with MARTA to begin testing, there has been no increase to the $6 fee. Due to requirements involving more advanced equipment and procedures, however, an increase was needed so that the city would not lose federal monies for road building. The new fee will go into effect Oct. 1.
"We have one of the cheapest, if not the cheapest, programs in the country," Jones told the council members before they voted. "If we don't adopt, we risk losing federal funds."
Specifically, the vote on the resolution approved an amendment to a Metro Board of Health regulation regarding inspection and maintenance of motor vehicles. It allows the Metro Health Department to retool its contract with MARTA so that the emissions testing operation can institute the increased fee.
Councilman-at-large Leo Waters said he will ask the Health Department to request that MARTA post signs at its testing centers notifying motorists of the increased fee and why it was necessary.
"This has been publicized, but the average citizen has probably not been aware," Waters said of the issue.
In other business, the Council elected Councilman-at-large Howard Gentry Jr. as president pro tem starting Sept. 1. In the position, Gentry will act in Vice Mayor Ronnie Steine's stead when needed.
Also, the council narrowly elected West Nashville Councilman John Summers to chair the body's Planning, Zoning and Historical Committee.
Summers edged Bordeaux Councilwoman Brenda Gilmore 20-18. Councilman Feller Brown was unopposed in his bid to become chair of the council's Traffic and Parking Committee.