Fluoridated water has been flowing to southern Davis County for barely a month and already opponents are saying they have enough petition signatures to force a public vote — the second in two years — on the issue.
They turned in 2,000 additional names this week. If the county certifies those lists, opponents will have more than the 8,700 signatures needed to land fluoride on the ballot this November.
Before the latest round of signatures, Davis County Clerk-Auditor Steve Rawlings said, fluoride foes needed only 820 more names to meet the requirement. “Then it will have to go before the County Commission, which will decide of it goes back on the ballot,” he said Wednesday.
Anti-fluoride forces got more good news this week when 2nd District Judge Glen Dawson ruled that Woods Cross would not have to comply with a county Health Department edict mandating that the city fluoridate its water.
“Hopefully, this will bring to their attention that a lot of people have had this [fluoridation] forced upon them,” said Kaysville’s Lee Ann Hansen, who helped spearhead the petition drive. “I’m proud of Woods Cross, that they stood up and had their voices heard.”
In the November 2000 election, Woods Cross was one of three Davis cities to have a majority of voters reject fluoridation. Countywide, the public-health proposal passed 52 percent to 48 percent.
Nineteen months later, only southern Davis County communities are getting fluoride in their water from the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District — and that process just started last month.
Dawson ruled that since Woods Cross disconnected itself from the Weber Basin line, the city would not have to fluoridate its water.
If a countywide re-vote happens, “the people of Woods Cross would vote again,” City Manager Gary Uresk said Wednesday.
If most Woods Cross residents voted for fluoride this time, Uresk says, city officials would heed those wishes. “And if what happened last time holds true,” he added, “we wouldn’t be compelled to put fluoride in the water no matter how the county vote turns out.”
Other cities have more questions about the judge’s ruling and the impending revote.
Centerville officials, for example, have postponed buying fluoridation equipment until attorneys determine if Dawson’s ruling could apply to them. This stand comes in the face of a Davis County Health Department warning that the city is violating the fluoridation order.
Centerville voters narrowly approved fluoridation twice — in 2000 and 2001.
“We are proceeding with plans to refurbish two of our wells because that work needs to be done regardless of whether we implement fluoride or not,” Assistant City Manager Blaine Lutz said. “But it would be imprudent to act right now until we review what has happened with the county and until our attorneys can take a look at Woods Cross.”