The Houston City Council tabled a decision Monday on what language will be used on the November election ballot to decide whether fluoride will remain in the water supply.
With one-third of the council absent and no guidance from the past actions of municipalities in the state — it apparently has never been put to a vote in the state because the city council has always made the decision — the local council decided not to make an immediate decision.
City Attorney Brad Eidson presented the suggested question which he says keeps it simple: “Shall the City of Houston continue adding fluoride in the municipal water? The water is currently treated as recommended and approved by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.”
Two council members — Kim Bittle and Vicki Narancich — seemed to side on including the term “hydrofluorosilicic acid.” The fluoride ion is extracted from it and it hydrolizes. The other pair — councilmen Kevin Stilley and Jeremy St. John — supported Edison’s proposal, which City Administrator Tona Bowen worried wouldn’t satisfy the Plato man in the forefront of the issue, George Sholtz. Councilmen Donnie Wilson and Chalky Wells were absent.
Meanwhile, a Springfield television station was there to record the meeting.
During the discussion, it was revealed:
•The Missouri Municipal League, the organization that provides support to towns in the state, couldn’t offer any guidance on an election. It was unaware of any similar election occurring in Missouri. Seventeen years ago, Houston began fluoridation by a council vote.
•It isn’t clear from case law what might happen if someone legally challenges the election.
•Edison said he tended to side with those wanting the council to make the decision.
The discussion came after earlier debate and hearings on the matter of fluoridation, which covers about 75 percent of the country’s population. Critics allege it is unsafe, may reduce the IQ of children and other means are available to insure good dental health. Proponents say it has greatly improved the dental heath of children, many of whom don’t have access to a dentist. It also is in place at Cabool.
The council’s next meeting is June 18. The deadline for certification on the Nov. 6 ballot is Aug. 28.