Two Bellmead residents are challenging incumbent Travis Gibson in the May 6 election for a seat on the city council.

George Melvin Cleveland and Linda Ione Robinson are vying for the Precinct 2 seat against Gibson. Harry Myers originally filed to run in the race but has since dropped out.

Early voting starts Monday.

Precinct 5 incumbent Doss Youngblood is unopposed, as is Precinct 1 incumbent Alfreda Love, leaving one contested race on the city of Bellmead ballot.

Residents will also see a countywide proposition on the ballot. All McLennan County voters can cast a vote for or against a 2 percent hotel occupancy tax and a 5 percent tax on short-term car rentals. The ballot measure is aimed at raising more than $34.4 million to overhaul the 60-acre Extraco Events Center off Bosque Boulevard. Money raised from the taxes would not go into the county’s general fund, and its use would be restricted.

Cleveland and Robinson have said they are running to give their neighbors better representation.

Gibson, who could not be reached for comment Thursday, was first elected to office in May 2015. He won the election after outgoing Precinct 2 Councilman Kevin Wilson stepped down after seven years on the city council.

Street improvements

Cleveland said he wants the city to focus more on street and waterline improvements. After years of fighting with city leaders on different topics, he decided the best way to enact change was to serve in office, he said.

“I feel like the city needs to start taking care of citizens instead of harassing them,” said Cleveland, who has lived in the city for two decades.

Cleveland, who served in the Army for eight years, said he would also want to focus on getting residents more involved in city decisions.

Better opportunities

Robinson, a United States Air Force veteran, wrote on a campaign page that she wants local government to work with businesses to provide opportunities for residents to prosper. She wrote it was after the November 2016 election that she decided to “put my money where my mouth is” and do more than complain about government, by running for office.

Early voting runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through April 28; 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. April 29; and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 1 and May 2.

Bellmead voters can cast their ballot at any of the five early voting locations:

  • McLennan County Records Building, 214 N. Fourth St., suite 300, in Waco
  • Robinson Community Center, 106 W. Lyndale Drive
  • Waco Multi-Purpose Community Center, 1020 Elm Ave.
  • First Assembly of God Church, 6701 Bosque Blvd., in Waco
  • Hewitt Public Safety Facility, 100 Patriot Court.

Ballots by mail must be received by the McLennan County elections department no later than the close of business Tuesday.

Cassie L. Smith has covered county government for the Tribune-Herald since June 2014. She previously worked as a reporter for the Beaumont Enterprise and The Eagle in Bryan-College Station. Smith graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington.

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