MERKEL, Texas -

The Merkel City Council voted in favor of rezoning property and paving the way for a Walmart Express to be built within the city limits.

But it's not a done deal – yet.

The unanimous vote Monday night at Heritage Hall was the first of two votes needed to give Walmart the rezoning needed to build a store just north of Interstate 20.

Before the vote, the city council held a public forum, giving residents a chance to give their opinion.

The rezoning request has become a controversial matter. A previous Planning and Zoning Committee held a forum in which many spoke and the committee’s vote ended up being split 2-2 for the rezoning.

Monday, a handful of residents spoke, echoing previous complaints about Walmart driving out business while others showed support, saying the Walmart Express may bring in other businesses with it to Merkel.

That property hasn't been rezoned yet, even with Monday's vote. The city council meeting on June 9 will include a second and final vote. No public hearing will be held before that second reading.