Fluoride Action Network

Xenia voters to decide on fluoride

Source: Dayton Daily News | July 14th, 2005 | By Amelia Robinson
Location: United States, Ohio

XENIA – The teeth may (or may not) have it Nov. 8.

The Xenia City Council voted Thursday night to let voters decide if fluoride should be added to the city’s drinking water.

The council’s decision to put the issue to citywide vote next November followed a failed vote on the subject Thursday and a lengthy discussion concerning whether or not tooth decay prevention should be referred to on the ballot.

Councilman Lee Esprit Jr. said tooth decay was the reason the issue arose in the first place.

“I don’t know why we would want to leave that out,” he said.

In the end, the council decided the question should be worded “shall the city of Xenia add fluoride to the water supply of Xenia to supplement the naturally existing concentration of fluoride in the city’s public water supply.”

Councilman Bill Miller said it will be up to those who support fluoridation for cavity prevention and those against the idea for a variety of reasons — including health concerns — to education the public.

“The city of Xenia is going to chose the verbiage that is less hostile to get it on the ballot,” he said.

Xenia is among eight Miami Valley communities that does not add fluoride to its public water systems.

Twenty-four Ohio communities, including Springfield, Xenia, Greenville, Lebanon, New Carlisle, Troy, Tipp City and Oakwood, do not add fluoride to the public water, according to the Ohio Department of Heath.

The fluoridation issue has been controversial in Xenia for decades.

The City Council angered some residents in 1987 when it voted to use a grant to fluoridate the city’s water supply.

Opponents won a referendum against the move to add the chemical, with leaders of the opposition saying officials shouldn’t have made such an important decision without voters’ support.

The City Council last year appointed a committee to study the issue after a Xenia dentist questioned why the water was not fluoridated.

The 10-member committee, in a letter the council discussed in April, said it could not agree on the issue and asked the council to put it on the November ballot. Instead, the public hearings were held.

Council President Patricia Felton cast the only opposing vote. She said the wording of the question was too complicated and confusing.

“The only thing you want to know is do the citizens of Xenia want fluoride added to the water period,” Felton said.

Council also voted to put on the November ballot a question of whether to lift its requirement that the city manger and law and fiance directors live in the city. Other city employees are not bound by a residency requirement.