OGDEN — Fluoridation fans in Weber County hope to rally enough support to get the issue on the ballot in 2002.
Dr. Clifford Goff, a retired dentist and former member of the Weber/Morgan Board of Health, served as the “point man” for fluoridation during the last election and agreed to spearhead the effort again in hopes of getting a county- wide vote next year.
Goff said they’re looking at two options. Either the boards of each water district in the county could separately back the issue or fluoride supporters could collect enough signatures for an initiative.
“At this point we’re deciding what we want to do,” Goff said. “It appears it would be more effective and less cumbersome to do an initiative.”
County Clerk/Auditor Linda Lunceford said 6,147 signatures would be needed. According to state law, the number of required signatures is based on 10 percent of total number of county votes cast for gubernatorial candidates in the last election.
Last year’s Senate Bill 158 gave commissions of first and second-class counties the authority to approve a county- wide ballot referendum on the fluoride issue. Salt Lake and Davis County Commissioners chose to put the referendum before voters last November, but Weber County hung back because of what officials viewed as flawed language regarding functionally separate water districts.
Last summer, the Weber/Morgan Health Department identified 11 or 12 functionally separate water systems in the county, but using a broader definition of the term, that number could expand to 69.
The boundary lines for the County’s separate water districts don’t correspond with voter precincts, further complicating the process.
“The water district boundaries make it a very complex issue,” said Commissioner Camille Cain, a member of the board. “You’d have to identify every voter in each water district.”
Chris Allred of the Weber County Attorney’s Office said that, although the board is in favor of fluoridation, they have concerns about the best way to implement the process if approved by voters in 2002.
“There are a lot of snags with current legislation on fluoride,” Allred said.
The fluoride issue will be discussed again at the board’s next meeting on March 26.