Fluoride Action Network

Artesia Stays Neutral On Water Fluoridation Plan

Source: Cerritos-ArtesiaPatch | May 16th, 2011 | By Ed Carrasco

Garbage rate hikes and sewage improvements in and around downtown Artesia were among the many topics in this month’s Artesia City Council meeting.

The Artesia City Council opted 3-1 in its May meeting not to take a position on the Golden State Water Company’s plan to fluoridate water in the City and neighboring cities.

Mayor Victor Manalo casted the lone dissenting vote, only saying that he is in favor of fluoridation, a process in which fluoride is added to the water system to reduce tooth decay.

The Golden State Water Company, which operates the City’s water services, asked for city approval to fluoridate the City’s water thanks to a community development grant from First 5 of Los Angeles, a child-advocacy organization created by California voters to invest tobacco tax profits into programs that help improve the lives of children in Los Angeles County, starting from prenatal care to the age of 5.

The water company said that whether the City signs off on the plan or not, residents and businesses in Artesia would pay an additional 60 cents a month in water rates or $7.20 a year because the company wants to spread the operating costs between the cities in its region, which also includes Cerritos, Hawaiian Gardens and Lakewood.

Councilmember Tony Lima questioned Golden State representative Paul Rowley on the plan, asking how fluoridation would affect the water system and when the additional charges will kick in.

“There’s an optimum dosage level that First 5 Los Angeles [said that is] known to benefit dental health and we’re shooting for the optimal dosage 0.7 to 1.1 [mg per liter],” Rowley said.

He didn’t specify when the company will add the charges, but said that they will implement them once the construction of new fluoridation facilities in neighboring cities like Hawaiian Gardens is completed and after calculating the operating expenses.

After reminding Rowley of the City’s past stance toward fluoridation, councilmember Sally Flowers said the City did not participate in the program the last time it was proposed because of the high costs in maintaining it.

This time, she wasn’t buying into Golden State’s latest fluoridation efforts and argued that the City not take a position on the fluoridation issue.

“The issue that we have tonight is if we support or don’t support it, are people going to pay?” she asked Rowley.

Rowley said that residents will pay more in water rates once they implement the fluoridation plan and the law stipulates that if funding is available from the State, then the companies must build these facilities.

Councilmember Michele Diaz asked City Attorney Kevin Ennis if Golden State has the right to implement the additional $7.20 a year on water rates. He said that the City has no control on water rates.

“The City can write a letter to the [California] Public Utilities Commission (PUC), but it’s the PUC that will decide the rate issue,” he said…