POYNETTE — Residents here urged their board by a more than a 2-1 margin Tuesday to restore fluoride to their water.
Village President Steve Tomlinson said the vote — Columbia County’s only municipal non-binding referendum — will dictate how he votes when the matter comes before the board at 6:30 p.m. on Monday. “If they voted yes by that much,” he said, “then I guess that’s what the people want, and it’s probably how I will vote.”
In July, with little public discussion, the Village Board decided to stop fluoridating the water. Tomlinson said the board made the decision at the recommendation of the public works committee.
Trustee Andy Ross, who pressed for public input on the decision, said he was pleasantly surprised by the numbers. “We have a real clear idea of what the community wants,” Ross said of the 278-128 vote.
Tomlinson said he believes at least one of the village’s two water pump-houses needs special storage structures for the fluoridation chemicals, at a cost he estimates at about $18,000.
To cover the cost, Tomlinson said the village could raise water rates. By state law, the village can raise its water rates at a rate equal to or less than the rate of inflation without seeking approval from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, Tomlinson said.
— State Journal reporter Patricia Simms contributed to this story.