Voters at the Topsfield Special Town Meeting on September 30 quickly approved a motion by the Finance Committee to authorize the Moderator to appoint a five-member study committee to report to the next duly convened Annual Town Meeting on the subject of fluoridation of the Topsfield public water supply.
Mark Lyons, chairman of the Finance Committee told the assembled voters that the issue of “fluoridation is specific and complex and involves the Commonwealth and Town Boards of Health” among others. He explained that any vote taken at the special town meeting would “not be binding.” He then made the motion to appoint the study committee and move the issue to the spring Town Meeting.
Petitioner Jeffy Demeter reiterated her position that the public fluoridation is “important and an urgent health issue.” She also commented on the cost of fluoridation and how it is wasteful with 90 percent of the fluoride ending up polluting groundwater.
Resident Matthew Cardello, a chemist, called Demeter’s research into question and stated “using town water was a choice, not mandatory.” He suggested that non-fluoridated water was readily available and inexpensive for those that choose not to drink fluoridated water.
Moderator George Hall then kept the discussion only to the Finance Committee motion.
Resident Paul Nowak said he “did not want to kick the can down the road, we are here to make a decision.”
There were no others requests from resident to be recognized, so Hall quickly called a voice vote.
Unsure if there was a majority in favor of the Finance Committee petition based on the voice vote, Hall called for voters to stand and be counted.
The motion was adopted by a clear margin of 98 to 38 and the Special Town Meeting was closed less than 30 minutes after it started.