DOVER — The member of the Utilities Commission who sought to have the City Council add a question to November’s ballot on whether the city should continue adding fluoride to the public drinking water said on Thursday the City Council does not have that authority.
In an email, Norman Allie wrote, “Upon further review, the referendum on fluoride can only be placed on the ballot by petition of 10 percent of registered voters. Therefore, I will no longer be pursuing a referendum question through the (Dover Utilities Commission) because City Council does not have the power to place it on the ballot.” Allie said on Friday that he withdrew the agenda item from the Utilities Commission meeting in June, where he originally planned to make a more formal presentation to the board.
The petition of 10 percent of registered voters is required by state law. Since Dover also provides water to Rollinsford and one home in Madbury, a petition to get on the ballot would have to get signatures from an “aggregate of 10 percent of the registered voters in all of the towns served by a water system,” state law states.
Allie said he does not have any current plans to file a petition for November’s Dover ballot. However, if the ballot initiative were successful, it appears that Rollinsford would not vote on the item until their town meeting day in March. It’s unclear if the town of Madbury would also have to vote on it during town meeting given that only one home is supplied.
At the Utilities Commission meeting last Monday, Allie asked whether the board might consider recommending the City Council adding the fluoride question to the November ballot to allow voters to decide whether they wanted to continue adding the chemical to the water supply.
Allie said at the meeting the reason he wanted the question added to the ballot was because the last time city voters voted on it was in 1987. Voters approved the use of fluoride, which the city began adding in 1990. “It was a long time ago. A lot has changed in 30 years,” he said. “People who live here now — we have a new generation of citizens, and many of them may not want this.”
• Original article online at http://www.fosters.com/news/20170519/fluoride-issue-wont-go-to-dover-voters?start=2