Hebron, Geneva, Sutton and Franklin join Hastings as the Tribland towns voting Tuesday on whether to opt out of a new Nebraska law that would require them to fluoridate their public drinking water supply.
The state Legislature approved LB245 in mid April. The bill requires all communities with more than 1,000 people to fluoridate their water supply.
Towns and cities that don’t fluoridate their water have until June 1, 2010, to opt out of the law. Those places where there is enough naturally occurring fluoride wouldn’t have to add any.
Minden, Superior and Red Cloud — the only other area towns large enough to be affected by LB245 — already fluoridate.
Officials from Hebron and Geneva both said their city councils approved adding the issue in order to let citizens decide whether they wanted their water to be fluoridated.
“There are so many pros and cons to fluoridation, they (Geneva City Council members) just wanted to give them the opportunity to decide if they wanted that,” Geneva City Administrator Robert Higel said.
The Geneva City Council approved the issue 4-0 (two council members were absent) at the July 21 meeting.
In Sutton, the issue was approved 4-0 at the Aug. 12 City Council meeting.
The Franklin City Council passed a resolution 4-0 at its July 14 meeting to put the issue on the ballot.
Hebron Mayor Randy Hergott said he didn’t recall any discussion about the issue when the council approved the issue 5-0 (one council member was absent) at its July 7 meeting.
The only sentiments Hergott said he’s heard expressed by the public about the possibility of fluoridation were from a handful of residents who said they didn’t think it was necessary.
Hergott, who owns property in Chadron, read a letter to the editor in last week’s Chadron Record written by Hastings resident Bob Samuelson.
“The article that was in the Chadron paper was interesting because it had points against fluoridation,” he said.
That same letter ran in the Tribune Oct. 22.
The problem Hergott said he sees personally is that many Hebron residents tell him they don’t drink tap water.
“So, most of water is used on yards, in showers and washing machines,” he said. “So, whatever you’ve injected for fluoride has been wasted.”
Neither Higel nor Hergott could recall his city voting on fluoridation in the past. Franklin Mayor George Kleen said his city hasn’t voted on the issue.
In Sutton, according to city regulations the item was voted down May 14, 1974. City Clerk Sherrie Bartell, who was not with the city at that time, wasn’t sure if the vote was in a citywide special election or by the council.