Fluoride Action Network

Poynette: Board votes against fluoridating water

Source: DeForest Times-Tribune | Editor
Posted on April 14th, 2009

Fluoridation of Poynette’s drinking water will have to wait.

The Poynette Village Board Monday night voted 3-2 not to refluoridate the village’s drinking water.

The board voted 6-0 in July to no longer fluoridate the village’s water supply.

Trustees Dave Branish, Kevin Marquardt and Jenny Van Schoyck Teeter voted in favor of Monday’s motion, while trustees Steve Tomlinson and Bernie Wells were against. Trustee Andy Ross abstained.

The vote came despite more than 68 percent of Poynette voters calling for fluoridation of the water in a non-binding referendum April 7.

“This is absolutely ridiculous,” said Poynette resident Tracie Gavinski, who works as a dental hygienist in Fitchburg. She pushed for re-fluoridation of village water. “We had a vote and our public spoke more than two to one to fluoridate, and for the board not to take that into consideration, they’re not doing their civic duty.”

The vote totals were a factor in Branish making a motion to leave fluoride out of the water. He also said the outcome reflected what a majority of the voters wanted, but didn’t reflect what registered voters or the village’s population wanted.

Branish said 17 percent of the voting population and only five to six percent of the village’s population voted for refluoridation of water.

Four hundred and eight people voted on April 7, which represents 29 percent of the village’s 1,399 registered voters and 16 percent of the village’s estimated population of 2,534.

Despite Branish’s inaccurate estimates, Marquardt agreed.

“What the voter turnout tells me is that most people don’t care if fluoride is in the system or not,”?Marquardt said. “If people are so up in arms, why didn’t they turn out to vote?”

Ross countered Marquardt’s stance by saying very few of those for leaving fluoride out the water turned out to vote.

“I think it’s an error to go ahead and assume people as a whole didn’t have a chance to have their say,”?Ross said. “We had a President of the United States elected by far fewer than 50 percent of the people eligible to vote.”

Ross started discussion before the vote by suggesting a study be done to determine the process and cost to refluoridate the water. He didn’t agree with the board’s motion not to refluoridate or even study the issue.

“Your rationale is flawed,”?Ross said. “To not even consider or looking into refluoridation, to put this motion to a vote at this point is not the right thing to do.”

Despite his stance, Ross abstained from the vote. He did so in part to voice his objection to the motion, but also to set up a situation where refluoridation can be brought up at another board meeting, as long as Tomlinson allows it to be.

“My stance hasn’t changed. I think we ought to refluoridate the water and take the steps necessary the voters put forth in the referendum.”

Ross admits he should have voted no to Branish’s motion, which would have made it fail, and then introduce a motion to table action on refluoridation until the next meeting.

Branish and Wells will not be a part of the board when it next meets. Taking their place will be two newcomers, Doug Avery and Mark Clement.