No fluoride will be added to the Au Gres water system.
The decision came at an Au Gres city council special meeting, scheduled for March 12 to determine capital improvement plans for the city, opting out of spending any of those capital funds on fluoridated water.
Councilman Larry Malace said the city put together a proposal for capital improvement projects over the next five years to send to the state. City Manager Pat Killingbeck said adding fluoride to the city water was added to the agenda to determine if the city should fund it as a capital project in the future. The council ultimately voted against doing so 4-1, with Keith Edmonds as the sole no vote.
“They decided they didn’t want to spend the additional funds to go through with that,” Killingbeck said. “Our water and sewer funds, we run pretty close. We don’t have a lot of extra money and didn’t want to have to raise rates to increase that type of thing.”
Malace said he felt it is an issue that has some good points and bad points, but ultimately is something he felt would be better suited to a ballot initiative.
He said that while he thinks it would be great for the kids in the city, there are numerous other people in the city as well, and he does not believe the council has enough information on what the population would like as a whole to move on the issue.
“For me, it would depend on the people, the voters,” Malace said. “Maybe (you could) put it on the ballot, but you’d have to have enough support from people to vote for it.”
If someone in the city is interested in getting fluoride on the ballot, Malace said they could circulate a petition and get enough signatures.
He added he would still need to know what the costs to the city would be for getting fluoride into the water supply, and whether or not it could be done with the existing water facilities.
Mayor LaVern Dittenber said he opposed putting the measure on the ballot during the council’s regular March 5 meeting, adding that with the school getting city water and having students from outside city limits, there were more people affected than just residents.
“No matter what you do with a program like that, it’s very controversial, but the council decided it didn’t want to spend capital project funds on that,” Killingbeck added…