Fluoride Action Network

Corning to wait until city voters decide fluoridation this fall.

Source: Star-Gazette | Star-Gazette Corning Bureau
Posted on March 4th, 2008
Location: United States, New York

CORNING — The city of Corning will take a “fluoride timeout” until after the Nov. 4 general election.

The City Council voted 7-2 Monday to rescind its Nov. 6, 2006, decision to fluoridate city water and to put the issue on hold until at least December.

A referendum on the ballot in November could strip the city of its authority to fluoridate its water supply.

Council members Betty Coccho, D-6th Ward, and Hilda Lando, D-3rd Ward, voted against reversing the 2006 decision.

“We’ve already made a decision and committed ourselves to something,” Coccho said.

Lee Welles, D-2nd Ward, said the city could lose money by pursuing fluoridation before the referendum.

“If we spend a lot of money and the public takes this authority away from us in November, we’ve wasted a lot of money,” Welles said.

Monday’s vote on the proposal by Mayor Tom Reed resulted from a request by City Manager Mark Ryckman. In November 2007, the council directed Ryckman to continue to make plans for water fluoridation, but not to spend any money.

The city manager said Monday he has reached the point where he needs funding to pay for an environmental impact study and legal services.

“In order to pursue fluoridation, I need the resources,” he said.

Reed said the intent of his proposal was to make it clear that Ryckman should stop spending any of his time or effort on fluoridation until after the referendum.

Coccho’s attempt to block Reed’s motion by tabling it failed on a 5-4 vote.

The measure approved Monday also contained a provision to put fluoridation back on the council agenda in December if the referendum is defeated.

Ryckman said rescinding the original fluoridation vote will have little effect because the council will be required to adopt a local law and hold public hearings if it proceeds with fluoridation in the future.

The referendum that would strip the city of the authority to fluoridate water was placed on the ballot after a petition campaign modeled on a similar one that was successful in Ithaca.