Melbourne’s mayoral race could help determine whether fluoride remains in the drinking water supply for about 170,000 people across southern Brevard County.
Last November, the Melbourne City Council voted 4-3 to continue fluoridating its water supply, which serves about 58,000 households and businesses across roughly 100 square miles.
This November, Melbourne voters will choose a new mayor from a field of four candidates. During an hourlong FLORIDA TODAY online election forum Tuesday, C.J. Johnson and Molly Tasker voiced support for fluoridation — while Deputy Mayor Paul Alfrey and Hazel Buggs opposed fluoridation.
The City Council debated fluoride for hours during three meetings last year, drawing considerable crowds. Melbourne has fluoridated drinking water since 1966, and city officials budgeted $57,000 this fiscal year to purchase hydrofluorosilicic acid.