ONEIDA – Fluoridation of the city’s water supply was defeated at Tuesday night’s Common Council meeting, ending a city-wide debate that was started last year.

Only Third Ward Councilman Erwin Smith voted “no” to the resolution that sought to decline the authorization from state agencies to introduce fluoride into the city’s water.

The way the resolution was worded, a “yes” was a vote against fluoridation, while a “no” was a vote in favor of it.

Smith said that he was concerned about area children who might not have access to dental care. Smith said he spoke to teachers and nurses about children in area schools.

“Teachers have said that children are coming into school with toothaches, and they can’t concentrate on their school work,” Smith said. “I see fluoridation like the seat belt and helmet laws. People don’t like wearing seat belts or helmets while riding bicycles, but we know they save lives.”

The rest of the council voted “yes” to the resolution, which defeated the idea of fluoridating the city’s water by a 5-1 margin.

After the vote, Oneida Mayor James Chappell, who does not get a vote, said he would have also voted “no” along with Smith. Chappell said that over 160 million people in the U.S. have fluoridated water.

“I can’t believe that state and federal agencies have us all hoodwinked, and have ignored the health concerns and the side effects of fluoride,” Chappell said. “My most important concern is the children.”

Second Ward Councilman Ted Hanifin said that he didn’t want to force fluoridation on people who did not want it.

“I don’t believe it’s right to vote on what people are going to ingest,” Hanifin said.

Sixth Ward Councilman James Griffing said his house is serviced by a well, and he was not directly affected by fluoridating the water supply. He voted “yes,” because he said he didn’t feel it was right to force fluoridation on people who did not want it.

Fifth Ward Councilman Donald Moore thanked city residents who gave their opinion on the measure.

Chappell said that as education improves on fluoridation, the city may entertain another vote on fluoridation in the future.