OZARK ? The fate of fluoridation of the city?s water will be up to the voters, Ozark aldermen decided Monday night.
That decision came after nearly 100 people wearing stickers proclaiming ?When In Doubt, Keep It Out? crowded into the board chamber.
That turnout, prompted by Citizens Advocating Pure Ozark Water, came two months after a lone resident asked the board not to accept an offer by the Missouri Department of Health to supply equipment and training needed to fluoridate the city?s water to prevent cavities in children.
Monday night, the board not only voted unanimously to put fluoridation on the ballot at the soonest possible time, but also to rescind its decision to accept the state?s offer.
Jonathan Brown, who at first was alone in raising questions about fluoridation, said he didn?t see Monday?s reversal as a defeat for the board, but as recognition by aldermen that residents are concerned about fluoridation.
?I think it?s educating them, and getting them to work with the community,? Brown said after the 5-0 vote. Alderman Mark Spinabella did not attend the session.
Speaking as an Ozark resident and not as director of the Christian County Health Department, Karen Potter said she was pleased that residents will vote on the issue.
But it?s likely both sides will mount extensive campaigns, she said.
Ozark resident Pat Borneman recently joined the effort to get the aldermen to pay attention to information questioning the value of fluoride as a cavity-preventing agent and raising concerns about it contributing to a range of medical problems.
The board?s stance was broken by Alderman Donna McQuay, who said she made a mistake.
?I think this is a health choice that should be made by responsible adults,? she said. ?And I feel I made a mistake in making that choice for you.?