By George Robertson
Editor, The Sun
Another attempt by Willamina dentist Dr. Gary Brooks to add fluoride to the city’s drinking water was rejected last week by the city council.
Brooks has asked the council several times to add the chemical to the water, saying it would sharply reduce the number of cavities for children in the city.
The proposal drew a lot of objections.
“There’s just as much proof against fluoride as there is for it,” said Brent Agee, the city public works leadsman who is in charge of the city’s water system.
Sharon Agee urged the council to consider what the city’s residents want.
“As purchasers, as customers we should have the right to say what we want in the water,” she said. Residents who want to use fluoride can buy it, she added.
Shane Compton, a new member of the city’s public works committee, presented a packet of information opposing the use of fluoride in city drinking water as did Kathy Thole of Grand Ronde.
It was pointed out that while some cities including Sheridan and McMinnville add fluoride to drinking water other Oregon cities such as Springfield and Eugene do not.
The council voted 3-2 to not add fluoride. Councilors Dwayne Mattson and Mary Lou Greb voted against the motion, saying they wanted more time to study the information presented at the meeting. Councilors Stanley Buck, Michael Haddock and George Young voted in favor.
In other action:
Building inspector resigns: The council accepted the resignation of Douglas Dick as the city’s building inspector.
New councilor: Michael Haddock was sworn in to the council seat left vacant when Aileen Schnitzler was elected mayor. He was appointed to the council last year but chose not to seek re-election in November. At the time, he said he didn’t know if he would still be working for the federal prison in Sheridan.
Water pumps: The council agreed to purchase two water pumps for the new water plant at a cost of $541 each.
Water revenue bond: The council agreed to obtain a revenue bond from the federal Farmers Home Administration to help pay for part of the city?s new water system.
The $934,700 bond will be paid at $52,000 per year for 40 years at 4.5 percent interest.
Mill pond: The council agreed to ask City Attorney Jerry Hart for another opinion on the city’s potential liability for taking over a former mill pond to use as a fishing pond.