FLAGSTAFF (AP) – The City Council’s 4-3 approval of adding fluoride to the city’s water may lead to a voter referendum.
The council had given the proposal tentative approval two weeks ago, and nothing changed in Tuesday’s vote and the reasoning lead to it, officials said.
About 50 people addressed the council before the vote, many dealing with the idea that the public should have a direct voice in any such decision. Only about 10 urged the council to approve the plan.
Opponent have 30 days within which to gather the about 930 valid voter signatures to place a referendum on the ballot. The vote itself might be set then for May 2002.
Some had urged the council to take no stand and instead allow proponents to seek a voter decision through a ballot initiative as a positive proposal rather than the negative approach of a referendum.
Voters supported fluoridation in 1974 but voted just as strongly against it in 1978. A proposal was withdrawn in 1997 before council action when public support again was split during hearings.