Fluoride Action Network

Gretna: Where yes means no and no means yes

Source: Gretna Breeze | January 27th, 2010 | By Emily Fink
Location: United States, Nebraska

Residents who live within the city limits will most likely get the chance to vote again on whether to add or not to add fluoride to the water system in Gretna.

The Gretna City Council discussed having a second vote on fluoride at the Jan. 19 meeting. The proposed ordinance at the council meeting called for a special election to be in March. City Administrator Colleen Lawry submitted a report and explained the situation to the council members.

In the report, it stated that the current law requires cities with a population of more than 1,000 to add fluoride to the water systems by June 1. During the election day in November, Gretna residents voted on an ordinance that could override the law. Gretna voters within the city limits voted no to the ordinance 1,179 to 756 and therefore fluoride would need to be added to the water system by June 1.

Lawry said the question on the ballot was confusing since a “yes” vote meant to not add fluoride and a “no” vote meant adding fluoride. Since last November Lawry has heard from residents and has spoken with council members and the Sarpy County election commissioner about the situation.

Council member Charlie Brewer also said at the meeting he heard from constituents saying the question was confusing and they did not vote how they wanted to.

Lawry said the special election would be conducted through the mail. It would cost up to $10,000, but would have more response than having a vote during the May primary election.

At the council meeting, all four members voted against the special election. Lawry is now working on a new resolution to have a vote about the fluoride in the May 11 primary.

The question will be the same and only voters within the city limits can vote, Lawry said.

Lawry said she asked election officials to change the question, but it will remain the same.

“I’m not sure that people took the time to read it,” Lawry said.