Fluoride Action Network

Schuylkill Haven mayor requests answer from borough solicitor about fluoride

Source: The Republican-Herald | March 21st, 2014 | By Amy Marchiano

The mayor, the council and borough residents are waiting to learn if an ordinance is needed to reintroduce fluoride into the borough water supply.

At its monthly meeting Wednesday, Mayor Mike Devlin said he wanted an answer. However, borough solicitor Mark Semanchik was not in attendance.

“I’d like the solicitor to provide the reason or opinion in writing,” Devlin said of the alleged necessity for an ordinance.

“You can bring that up when he’s here, next meeting,” council President Marlin Berger Jr. said.

The council voted Feb. 5 to add fluoride into the water supply. Voting in favor of adding the fluoride were Berger and members Ruth Tucci, Paul Bedway and Kurt Montz. Council members Jerry Bowman, Roger Spotts and Tom Gordon voted against it.

Fluoride was in the borough’s water supply until 2011, after a motion to keep fluoride failed on Feb. 3, 2010.

The state Department of Environmental Protection must approve a permit for adding fluoride into the water supply.

Devlin previously said, according to 2012 House Bill 1702, signed into law by Gov. Tom Corbett, all legislative acts by a borough council should be by ordinance, which the Feb. 5 vote was not.

“This article in the newly revised Borough Code would require that any appropriation of funds or that any changes made to our local water standard would be considered legislative acts,” Devlin said.

Semanchik said previously he made no recommendation that an ordinance is needed. Berger said he was unaware an ordinance was needed for the addition of fluoride.

Devlin said he will veto such an ordinance if it comes to him for approval.

Devlin provided a copy of the borough code section 1117, which describes the duties of a solicitor.

In part, the borough code says the solicitor “shall furnish the council or committees of the council, the mayor or the head of a department, upon request, with an opinion in writing upon any question of law which may be submitted by any of them in their official capacities.”

Devlin also asked that the fluoride issue be sent to the water committee.

Some discussion ensued and, later in the meeting, Bedway announced a water committee meeting would be held at 5:30 p.m. April 2 to discuss the fluoride issue and that a recommendation, if the committee makes one, will be mentioned at the 6:30 p.m. council meeting that same day.

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