The city of Bellaire is in the process of preparing for a May 2 special election, spurred by three separate resident-driven propositions that would amend the city’s charter.

Bellaire City Council formally passed an ordinance calling the election Feb. 10 during a special session, when the council amended the order in which the propositions will appear on the ballot, as well as establishing the rate of pay for election officials working during early voting and on election night.
The three propositions, signed by 5% of those that voted during the November 2017 election, all focus on sidewalk construction and the notification process by the city to residents that would be affected by such construction.

The propositions are as follows:

  • Proposition A: The city must deliver detailed information to residents living on a block zoned by the city for residential use if it plans to build a sidewalk there on or before six months of council consideration.

  • Proposition B: The city may not construct a sidewalk on a residential block without 50% written approval of the property owners on that block no more than three months prior to construction.

  • Proposition C: The city may not construct a sidewalk unless it also eliminates the impact of the material used in the sidewalk construction on water discharge and runoff in the city.

City Council first received the petitions Jan. 28, 2019, but was unable to place the items on the ballot in the November election, City Clerk Tracy Dutton said.

“They submitted it in hopes of having it during the November election, but it hadn’t been two years since the last charter election,” Dutton said.

The Texas Constitution prohibits cities from changing their charter more than every two years. Because Bellaire last amended its charter during an election held Nov. 7, 2017, the first authorized election date was May 2 of this year.

Bellaire will use only one precinct in order to cut costs and will use the Bellaire Civic Center, 7008 S. Rice Ave., for its voting location.

Early voting spans April 20-28. April 21 and 28 will have voting from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. April 20 and 22-24 will have voting 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 25 will have voting 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and April 26 will have voting 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

In the meantime, Bellaire is in the process of gathering and training workers, Dutton said. Also, city staff is working on determining the fiscal impact to the city should the propositions pass.

“A charter amendment election requires what the fiscal impact is if it passes,” Dutton said. “The city is working with the city engineer on what we believe the fiscal impact will be if each of these amendments will pass, and there will be an impact for each of them.”

That work should be completed by the end of March.

Proposed charter amendment text: