ONEIDA – Now that the public has voiced its opinion on whether or not the city should fluoridate its water supply, some common councilmen are making up their minds on the measure.
At a public hearing on June 25, a small crowed showed up to express their thoughts on fluoridation. Most residents of the city said “no,” while experts in attendance praised the benefits of fluoridation.
Oneida Mayor James Chappell said that he feels fluoridation is something the city needs to do, but because of conflicting reports and the fears that some people have when it comes to the safety of fluoridation, he said he thinks the decision on fluoridation should not be made at this point in time.
“I don’t think it would be wise to vote on this at this point in time,” Chappell said. “We need to do a better job of educating the public. I can’t have people being afraid of taking water from their tap, that would be irresponsible on my part.”
Fourth Ward Councilman Army Carinci said he wants residents of the city to have the freedom of choice when it comes to their health.
“I’m not against fluoridation,” Carinci said. “But I am for free choice. Most of the calls I’ve had have been against fluoridation.”
Carinci said that he doesn’t want to impose fluoridation on the entire city if some residents of the city don’t want it. He said the concerns that children in poor families who cannot afford dentistry and would benefit from fluoridation are not relevant because most children don’t drink water, opting for juices and sodas.
“You can’t get them to drink water,” Carinci said.
Sixth Ward Councilman James Griffing said that fluoridating the city’s water supply would make no difference to him, because his house is supplied by a well. He advised people who are concerned about fluoridation to see their dentists.
“I haven’t gone one way or another,” Griffing said.
First Ward Councilman Donald Skinner still has not made up his mind, but said he is not in favor of fluoridation.
“I doubt it even comes to vote,” Skinner said. “I don’t know who will even put it up to vote.”
In a letter to the editor, Fifth Ward Councilman Don Moore said that there were too many conflicting reports on fluoridation to make an informed decision and that he would vote “no” on fluoridation.
“So my conclusion to this is we do not need to medicate but to educate our community and let the people chose for themselves,” Moore said. “I will not have on my conscience that I may have caused them any harm.”
Erwin Smith, third ward councilman, and Ted Hanifin, second ward councilman, were unavailable for comment as of press time.
Chappell said that a worksession will have to be held soon to determine if the council wants to put a fluoridation vote on the council’s regular agenda. The council now has to decide whether or not to hold a vote on fluoridation.