The question of whether or not fluoride should be reintroduced into the Ste. Genevieve city water supply after a hiatus of more than a dozen years will be the topic of a public meeting scheduled for Thursday, January 3.
Members of the city board of aldermen approved setting up the meeting at their regular session last Thursday, following a request made earlier this fall by members of the local health community, asking the board to re-examine the matter.
According to local dentists, the absence of fluoride in the water has resulted in a deterioration in the dental health of local children. Opponents of fluoridation have called the practice “medication without representation,” claiming fluoride poses health hazards.
The city began adding fluoride to the water supply in about 1980 and continued to do so until the city’s old water plant was impacted by the 1993 flood. The new, state-of-the-art plant built after the flood was supposed to be equipped to resume fluoridation,
but the equipment apparently was never turned on. (Recently, city officials have said the equipment cannot be found.)
A vigorous debate about fluoride surfaced here in the late 1990s, when the dental and medical community urged that fluoridation be resumed. Ultimately, a non-binding resolution was put before voters during the August 2000 election. There were 675 ballots cast against resuming fluoridation, to 574 ballots in favor of doing so.
One outcome of the January 3 meeting could be a decision by the board of aldermen to put the fluoride question on the April 2008 ballot, giving voters another chance to decide the matter.
The public meeting will be held at 7 p.m., at a location that has not yet been determined.
In other business last Thursday the board authorized the city fire department to move forward on the purchase of a new rescue/pumper vehicle, and gave the go-ahead to city staff to apply for three grants from the Ste. Genevieve County Community Development Fund––one in the amount of $10,000 for the purchase of radio pagers for the local fire department, and another for $18,156 for the purchase of digital security equipment for city hall and the city police department. (See story on Page 4 for third grant proposal.)
The board also accepted a proposal for $21,994 for the purchase of a 2008 work truck for the water department after discussion of whether a second, lower bid for a vehicle met the bid process requirements. The board determined that it did not.
In addition, the board passed the first reading of an ordinance that sets April 8, 2008 as the date for election of officers in the City of Ste. Genevieve. Posts to be filled in the election include the Ward 1 seat currently held by Tim Kuenzel, the Ward 2 seat held by Darryl Roth, the Ward 3 seat held by Carl Okenfuss, and the Ward 4 seat held by Linda Brumfield.
The board also approved extension of the open burning period for yard waste, through November 30.