This photo of was pubished in the Johnson City Press, Tennessee. Article titled, Jonesborough residents encouraged to fill out fluoride survey preceding public hearing. June 14, 2016.

This photo of was included in this article published by Johnson City Press, Tennessee.

In preparation for the upcoming public hearing on water fluoridation, the Jonesborough Board of Mayor and Aldermen sent a survey to town residents to get more feedback from the community.

The survey, which filed into Jonesborough mailboxes last week, inform readers about the status of the board’s discussion on the matter and the upcoming public hearing. It contains a narrative signed by Mayor Kelly Wolfe that includes Jonesborough’s history with water fluoridation and encourages residents to do their own research on the matter.

Since the board brought up the possibility of discontinuing the addition of fluoride to the water supply in April, Wolfe said he and the aldermen have been receiving calls, emails and letters from concerned residents on both sides of the issue. A petition began circulating encouraging the discontinuation of water fluoridation shortly after the debate began, and some local dentists cautioned that the benefits of fluoridation shouldn’t be discredited.

Wolfe’s letter said that in light of the massive outpouring of concern from the community, residents will have another venue to express their concerns in the form of the enclosed survey in addition to the public hearing next month.

“A very important part of making a decision that could affect public health is the act of consulting the public,” Wolfe said in an interview. “We feel very strongly that our Jonesborough water customers should have a voice in this process. While we will weigh many factors and ultimately come to a decision, the wants and desires of our water customers will rank as a very high priority.”

The survey asks if the reader is aware of the added fluoride in the water, what the reader uses the water for, whether the reader’s toothpaste has fluoride in it, whether the reader wishes the town to discontinue the addition of fluoride to the water and why. The survey may be turned in to the Jonesborough Water Department at Town Hall, 123 Boone St., Jonesborough, up to July 1.

Wolfe said since the surveys only went out last week, he isn’t sure how many have been returned so far, but he and the other aldermen are expecting a big turnout for the fluoride hearing next month. Wolfe said the purpose of the hearing is to garner comments from the public, and the board won’t be adding to the discussion. Action on the matter will be decided in a meeting that will be scheduled after the public hearing.

“We’re doing our best to do what is right by our water customers,” Wolfe said.

The public hearing will take place July 18 beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Jonesborough Visitor Center.