Tapanui residents are one step away from having fluoride added to their water supply.
The West Otago Community Board met for the first time this year yesterday and was asked to apply for a full subsidy from the Ministry of Health to install fluoridation equipment at the town’s water supply plant.
A non-binding referendum of Tapanui residents at the 2007 local body elections revealed a split opinion.
Of the 379 people who voted, just over half -194 – supported fluoridation while 185 were opposed.
Fluoridation has been strongly backed by the Otago District Health Board but also attracted opposition.
Other towns in the district, including Milton and Kaitangata, were also polled and similar results were received.
In a report to the board’s meeting, Clutha District Council water services manager Hank Stocker said it would cost an estimated $43,600 plus GST to install fluoridation equipment.
The council would, with the board’s backing, apply for a 100% subsidy.
But he warned there would be extra operating costs that would add about $17 to the Tapanui water bill for each household.