Dunedin, Florida

City Must Decide on Fluoride: Should it Stay or Go?

Staunch supporters on both sides resurrect decades-long water fluoridation issue because of a 2012 budget proposal.

Fluoride in the drinking water — friend or foe? The subject is bound to touch a nerve.

It was a hot-button issue after city officials released the projected 2012 budget in June. Officials proposed eliminating the city’s more-than-20-year fluoridation program as a cost-cutting measure.

Doing so would save an estimated $13,000 from the budget and prevent the city from having to replace a $40,000 storage tank.

“Sometime in the next budget cycle — and probably we can put it off until the end — we are going to have to replace our tank,” Paul Stanek, assistant utility director at the city’s water plant, said by phone. “The money we are going to propose to spend wouldn’t have to be done until the end of the next fiscal year,” which is Oct. 1, 2012.

Dunedin eco-activist Bree Cheatham, an outspoken opponent of
fluoridated drinking water, quickly became involved when she learned it was a proposed cut. The issue was brought up during a budget workshop July 13 but was tabled for further discussion in September after she raised her objections.

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