In a surprise unanimous move, with no discussion, the Village of Cobleskill has agreed to put fluoride back in its water.
For the second time in two meetings, dentist Gary Surman, a passionate advocate for fluoridated water, asked the village to reconsider its August 2007 decision to remove it.
With no discussion, Trustee Bob LaPietra moved it, Trustee Mark Galasso seconded it, and along with Mayor Mike Sellers and Trustee Sandy MacKay, voted yes.
It’s not quite that simple, however.
Dr. Surman said families with children taking fluoride supplements will have to be notified so they don’t double-dose; that will likely be done in the April water bills.
Water Superintendent Jeff Pangman said Friday he’s already notified the County Department of Health of the change.
However, he pointed out nothing’s been budgeted for the chemical he’s used in the past to deliver the fluoride; he estimated that cost at $9,000 a year.
If was after Mr. Pangman provided information questioning the safety of fluoride—and local dentists and doctors countered with information of their own—that the village pulled the plug on fluoride two years ago.
“The majority rules, I don’t have a problem with that,” Mr. Pangman said of the about-face. “My personal beliefs don’t come into play. I don’t decide village policy.”
Mr. Pangman, however, did question where the money for the fluoride will come from, especially in light of staffing and other cuts in this year’s budget.
“In a matter of 60 seconds, the board [spends] $9,000 of money that is currently not budgeted,” he said, with no debate or discussion on how to pay for the increased spending on a chemical that does absolutely nothing to purify or make…drinking water safe.”
Before the village stopped fluoridating its water in 2007, it had been doing so since 1954.