PRESS RELEASE: The proposal to partially fund capital costs if Spokane fluoridates its water has several stipulations not previously made public.
According to the city council’s recently-released agenda packet for their September 14 meeting, the ARCORA Foundation, an arm of Delta Dental, pledged $4 million toward building fluoridation infrastructure.
But there’s a catch that may end up costing taxpayers much more money than originally thought. The proposed agreement between ARCORA and the city says that if Spokane chooses to end fluoridation for any reason before 20 years have elapsed, it must pay ARCORA back the money it donated on a pro-rated basis. The only exceptions are an act of nature or if Washington state or the federal government ends fluoridation.
“This revelation,” said Jeff Irish, Safe Water Spokane chair, “is extremely troubling. Studies showing fluoridation’s harm to our health are constantly accumulating. If Spokane wanted to end the program a few years into it, based on the science, our taxpayers would end up footing ARCORA’s bill.”
Already, the price tag for capital costs, originally pegged at $4 million, could jump to as much as $6 million, according to city officials. Even with additional donations that might raise as much as $1 million, the city would still have to spend at least another $1 million. And that doesn’t even count the estimated annual $600,000 for chemical and operational costs, which the city would have to pay for.
The report also said “The City may need to add two additional operators to assist with maintenance of the fluoridation facilities.” All the additional expenses will most likely increase residents’ utility bills even more.
The grant agreement gave ARCORA even more power over the city, saying Spokane “must seek prior approval of all press releases or other information intended for the media or the public related to the Project.”
Irish added, “Now the city couldn’t even issue a press release without permission from ARCORA. You have to wonder who’s in charge here. The closer you look at this agreement, the more red flags you see. Hopefully, city councilors will take note and reject this proposal, not just from a financial perspective, but a scientific one.”
To that end, Safe Water Spokane is hosting a virtual Zoom forum on fluoridation featuring a panel of medical, scientific and dental professionals that is free and open to the public this Thursday, September 10, at 6:00 p.m. To register to participate and ask a fluoridation question of the expert panel, or to watch this event live, visit www.SafewaterSpokane.org/forum.
Contact: Jeff Irish, Chair
Safe Water Spokane