LANCASTER — Voters will be able to decide whether they want fluoride in their water.
After hearing testimonials from proponents and opponents of the controversial issue, City Council voted 6-3 to place the issue on the ballot for the November General Election.
Councilmen Dwight Dyke Andrews, Rudy Touvell and Karl Justus voted against the legislation.
As the final vote was cast, some residents released sighs of relief, while others gasped in disapproval.
“It’s a choice that the city wants to make, but I don’t think the city should have to pay for it,” said John Spires of 1830 Wacker Drive. “I don’t think it is money well spent.”
The vote gives a new generation of citizens the opportunity to make up their minds, said Pat Navin, director of community health development for the Fairfield Department of Health.
“We have been working real hard for two years now, and we are so grateful,” Navin said. “Truly we were ready to hit the ground running tomorrow if City Council couldn’t do it, but this makes more sense since council has to pay for it anyhow.”
Now that the issue will go before voters, the next step will be to educate the community and separate fact from fiction, said Colleen Wulf, preventative services coordinator with the Ohio Department of Health’s Bureau of Oral Health Services. Wulf also is a proponent.
Opponents argued many points, including that fluoride is a toxin, and how the issue was voted down years earlier. Those in favor of fluoridation cited the benefits, especially to children and families who can’t afford dental care.
Bruce Raybourne, 721 King St., said he was neither for nor against the issue. But he didn’t agree with the city having to foot the bill to place the issue on the ballot.
“I don’t think it’s fair that City Council is this positive toward a group like this … let them get out there and work,” Raybourne said.