ROCKPORT — Selectmen are set to discuss and vote Tuesday on whether a fluoride question will go on the ballot at the next state or local election.
At Monday night’s fall Town Meeting, residents voted on the question “Are you in favor of discontinuing the fluoride supplementation of the Rockport Water Supply?” After a heated debate between an anti-fluoride group and pro-fluoride locals, 116 residents voted for sending the question to a referendum, with 97 residents voting against.
Voting is “definitively on the schedule” for the next board meeting, Town Administrator Linda Sanders said Wednesday, adding that she doubted that selectmen would postpone any such decision. The only way the board would postpone a vote is if it needed more information, and Town Meeting made it clear that there has been a wealth of facts available to the board.
In front of Town Meeting, Selectman Eliza Lucas spoke on behalf of her own research, and not for the board.
“This topic is not black or white to me at all,” Lucas said. “We all have similar goals here. Our health is our top priority, so I have complete respect from this healthy debate.”
In a phone interview Wednesday, Lucas noted that she didn’t want to speculate as to the board’s decision before they had a chance to meet and discuss the issues. She also noted that while she did feel compelled to speak as a citizen, she was not speaking for the board.
Selectman Paul Murphy said he did not vote to put the fluoride question on the ballot at Town Meeting, but he said he expects to represent the wishes of Town Meeting voters and move the question to a referendum ballot.
“It was clear to me that the people in support of removing fluoride had the proper votes,” he said in a phone interview.
Murphy, however, also emphasized that he could not speak for the rest of the board.