The Galveston City Council on Tuesday postponed the May 2 local elections and asked Gov. Greg Abbott to expand voting-by-mail options amid concerns about protecting voters and polling location volunteers from exposure to coronavirus.

Abbott last week issued a proclamation allowing local governments to postpone their elections until Nov. 3, but city council members want to hold elections this summer, if possible.

The council passed two resolutions Tuesday asking Abbott to permit them to either allow vote-by-mail for any voters or to suspend in-person voting and move entirely to vote-by-mail.

Several city council members said they’d rather see elections happen this summer rather than extend the current terms another six months and shorten the terms of the newly elected officials.

All six city council seats and the mayoral spot are contested.

NO MORE DRINKS AT THE BEACH

The city council unanimously reversed a decision it made in December to allow alcohol on the popular Stewart Beach.

The fact that the ban, which had been in place for decades, was reversed came as a surprise to some council members in February when the Galveston Park Board of Trustees began looking into whether it could permit alcohol sales at the beach park.

The park board manages Stewart Beach.

The change was made as part of an extensive revision of the city code and had gone largely unnoticed.

Several council members, including Mayor Jim Yarbrough, didn’t like the change.

But the council shouldn’t eliminate the opportunity for a public-private partnership at Stewart Beach, such as the construction of a restaurant that might include the sale of alcohol, District 4 Councilman Jason Hardcastle said.

It’s a matter that can be revisited at a future meeting, Hardcastle said.

SPEED CHECK

The Galveston City Council has agreed to a Texas Department of Transportation request to change the speed limit on FM 3005 in several places.

The state manages FM 3005.

The speed limit will be changed to 40 mph from 45 mph between 61st Street and 7 Mile Road, to 55 mph from 50 mph between Pabst Road and 11 Mile Road and to 50 from 55 between Indian Beach Drive and Sausalito Drive.

“It’s safer because we have more development going on out there,” District 6 Councilwoman Jackie Cole said. Cole represents the West End, through which FM 3005 runs.

Keri Heath: 409-683-5241; keri.heath@galvnews.com or on Twitter @HeathKeri.

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