The downturn in the economy hasn’t just hurt families with drastic cutbacks in income. With no turnaround in sight and income to municipalities slashed as a result of lesser property taxes due in part to the high foreclosure rate and lowered property values, even communities are looking at drastic ways to balance their budgets.

The Dunedin city council, in a way to pinch pennies, is debating whether to eliminate fluoride from its drinking water.

This step would save the city over $50,000 almost immediately, partially because the city wouldn’t have to replace a storage tank estimated valued at $40,000.

The debate whether to eliminate fluoride will resume at next week’s city council workshop Thursday at 9 a.m.

Eliminating fluoride from drinking water will be just one of two items on the workshop agenda. The city council will also discuss a downtown waterfront illustrative plan.

The City of Dunedin has had fluoride added to the city’s drinking water for some 20 years, since 1992. The city was the second in Pinellas County to add fluoride to drinking water following Bellaire.

This practice is not the norm in the county. The only other cities with fluoride in the drinking water are St. Petersburg, Gulfport, South Pasadena and parts of Oldsmar.

When the subject first came up in a city council meeting in early August, it was met with much rancor with several environmentalists supporting the city’s suggestion that fluoride no longer be added to city water. The issue was tabled until next week’s workshop.