“This thing has been beat to death,” said Mayor Frank Coccho.
The vote confirmed a November decision to fluoridate the city’s water if supporters could come up with $100,000, or about half the initial cost of $196,000.
Former Corning dentist Dr. Thomas Curran of Elmira said Monday the fundraising effort had reached its goal. Curran refused to identify any of the donors, but said half the money came from within the city of Corning and half from outside sources.
None of the funds came from Corning Inc., the region’s largest employer, Curran said.
Fluoridation will increase city water bills by about 1 to 2 percent, City Manager Mark Ryckman estimated.
Despite Monday’s vote, the addition of fluoride to the city’s water supply could take up to two years.
Fluoridation opponents and proponents pressed their arguments to the council Monday. Each side presented petitions they said contained about 200 signatures of local residents.
Chad Moore of Corning, a chemist, called tooth decay “a parents’ problem” and said there are better ways to distribute fluoride than putting it in the municipal water supply.
Dr. John Gunselman, a Corning dentist, said the use of fluoride in city water is widely supported by local dentists and dental hygienists.
Last week, council member Betty Coccho, D-6th Ward, said fluoridation proponents had been able to raise only $65,000 of the $100,000 required. As a result, she proposed killing the fluoridation plan.
But Coccho changed her mind after Curran said $100,000 had been given to the Community Foundation of the Elmira-Corning Area for the fluoride project.
Alderman Rich Negri, R-4th Ward, was the lone holdout against fluoridation.
“I think we can spend the money … in better ways,” Negri said. “Everybody in the city wants the roads fixed.”
Alderman Frank Muccini, R-5th Ward, was absent when the council acted in November. But he said the council had an obligation to follow through on the agreement.
“It’s very clear the council made a commitment,” Muccini said.