The Bellmead City Council approved a balanced $5.61 million budget in a last-minute split vote Tuesday night.

With the budgeting process already behind schedule, the council also narrowly shot down a proposal Tuesday that would have required budget cuts to every department in the city’s general fund. The proposal, to accept the Bellmead Economic Development Corp.’s plan to scrap a $162,000 payment to the city, failed in a tied council vote.

Council member Doss Youngblood, who sits on the board of the sales tax-funded corporation, pushed for the move. The council has oversight on economic development corporation spending, so the change would have required approval by a majority of the council to take effect.

Delays earlier in the city’s budgeting process had already forced “emergency” readings of the budget for the fiscal year starting next month, meaning the council held all three required votes Tuesday, instead of spread over multiple meetings.

If the council approved the economic development corporation’s proposed $162,000 change, the council would have had to cut $162,000 from the city’s budget. City manager Bo Thomas presented a plan to make that reduction, which included cuts from every department in the city’s general fund, including the police and fire departments.

The corporation’s board included the payment in its preliminary budget in June but approved a proposal earlier this month to cut the payment. The corporation has minimal staff of its own and contracts with the city for basic professional and administrative services. It was unclear Tuesday how the corporation planned to replace the services typically provided by the city.

Youngblood told the council he did not think the corporation has enough money to do what it needs to do.

Mayor Pro Tem Alfreda Love, who also sits on the corporation board, said it has sufficient funding to perform its functions.

Council member Gary Moore made a motion to accept the changes presented by the economic development corporation. The motion failed in a tied vote with Moore, Youngblood and Mayor William B. Ridings voting in favor.

The city council then approved the upcoming fiscal year’s budget in a 4-2 vote. The budget includes $5.61 million in revenue and $5.61 million in expenditures, with $78 more in revenue than expenditures.

Youngblood and Moore voted against the budget’s adoption. The duo also voted last month against a 2-cent increase to the city’s property tax rate, needed to pay for debt already approved to replace two aging firetrucks.

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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