BIDDEFORD — An effort to create a local “circuit-breaker” rent and property tax rebate program for residents of Biddeford was defeated Tuesday night by City Council.

The proposal to set aside $50,000 to provide rent and tax relief was defeated in a 5-2 vote, with councilors Jim Emerson, Pat Boston, Rick Laverrier, Alfred Lamontagne and David Bourque opposed and councilors Clement Fleurent and Bob Mills in favor. Councilors Pete Lamontagne and Ray Gagnon were absent from the meeting.

The proposal was modeled after the statewide program. Residents would have had to receive a refund from the state to qualify for the local program.

Boston, who voted against the proposal, said it wasn’t the best use of taxpayer money. If the more than 2,000 Biddeford residents who received state rebates last year all applied for the local rebate program, they would receive only $25 each, she said.

“If someone is on the brink of losing their house, this is not going to have any impact,” she said.

Mills, a member of the committee that proposed the rebate program, advocated for passage of the program.

“This is the greatest good that we can do for the greatest number of people,” he said. “This is not feel good legislation. It’s something that needs to be done.”

After the meeting, Mills said in an e-mail that the council’s vote was the closest it had ever come to creating an actual benefit for residents.

“Despite the failure, I still feel this was a very progressive step towards helping people in need in our community,” he wrote.

Mills said his goal is to bring forward a “revamped and reworded” circuit-breaker proposal again in 2011, but model it after the town of Cumberland’s program.