CARSON CITY — Gov. Kenny Guinn has signed a bill requiring fluoridation of the water system in Clark County, but he wants the public to vote on the issue.
The governor has asked the Legislature to send him a “trailer bill” that will allow Clark County voters to have a say on a ballot question in November 2000.
“The governor believes deeply fluoridation is a local issue and should be dealt with on that level,” Pete Ernaut, Guinn’s chief of staff, said today.
Ernaut also noted the bill was an “unfunded mandate,” meaning the state is imposing costs on local governments without state funding.
Assembly Bill 284, sponsored by Assemblywoman Chris Giunchigliani, D-Las Vegas, says the state Board of Health must adopt regulations setting the minimum level of fluoride at 0.7 parts per million and the maximum at 1.2 parts per million.
The Southern Nevada Water Authority estimates it will cost about $3.9 million for the equipment and an annual cost of about $489,600. Fluoridation will cost customers about 3 cents per 1,000 gallons of water used during the first year and less than half of one cent per 1,000 gallons the following years.
The bill initially included Washoe County, but the Senate excluded that area because of strong opposition.
Giunchigliani said during debate on the bill that treating the water system will help stop tooth decay for children, their parents and seniors. Opponents call it another government intrusion into the private lives of families. They argue people can buy fluoridated toothpaste or have their teeth treated by a dentist.