Buffalo residents have spoken in the great fluoride debate with a resounding No. Answering a survey that was mailed with water bills or hand-delivered to apartments, 218 voted No to keeping fluoride, 95 said Yes and three were neutral.

That is nearly a 70 percent total in favor of doing away with fluoride. Surveys were counted Monday afternoon before the meeting.

At the Buffalo Board of Aldermen’s regular monthly meeting on May 12, the board voted to stop using fluoride. Some aldermen said fluoride damages equipment and city trucks, and a lot of money can be saved by not using it.

Cheryl Eversole, director of the Dallas County Health Department, however, and others objected, so the decision was made to conduct a survey of Buffalo residents and businesses to see what they wanted. Pro and con information was included on the city’s website.

The result was a No vote by more than a 2 to 1 margin.

“We’d like to thank the Buffalo citizens who took time to study the issue and return the survey,” said Alderman Brandon Kenall, who was in charge of putting the survey together. Regulations restrict cities from dumping fluoride, so it will take approximately 100 days to deplete the current supply, city officials said.

Back in April 2000, Buffalo residents voted 330 to 279 to add fluoride to the water. On Dec. 10, 2003, however, the Board of Aldermen decided to stop adding fluoride when the city’s current supply was depleted. This came about when the Dallas County Health Department notified the city that it would no longer pay for half of the supplies to place fluoride in the water system.

After a meeting with Eversole in January, however, Mayor Jimmie Beckner cast the deciding vote to keep adding fluoride to the water, and the health department agreed to pay up to $1,000 per year for the fluoride. The addition of fluoride is believed by proponents to be effective in reducing tooth cavities both in children and adults.