Fluoride should return to Philomath’s water sometime in May.
Philomath voters approved ballot measure 02-76 on Tuesday night, which directs the city to resume adding approved fluoride compounds to the city’s drinking water.
The vote reversed a May 2011 decision by the Philomath City Council to stop adding fluoride to Philomath’s municipal water supply. Before the decision, the city’s water had been fluoridated since the early 1980s.
City Manager Randy Kugler said that the council likely will accept and certify the election results at its April 9 meeting. At that point, he said, there will be a 30-day period until the new ordinance goes into effect.
After the 30-day period passes, fluoride again will be added to Philomath’s municipal water supply.
“There’s no emergency clause attached to the ordinance,” Kugler said. “So we are looking at sometime in May that fluoride would be added back into the water.”
Kugler said the city will follow the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ recommendation for fluoride level in drinking water at 0.7 milligrams per liter.
City Council president Rocky Sloan said Wednesday it would’ve been interesting to see the results if there had been better voter turnout. About 50 percent of Philomath’s registered voters turned in their ballots. He said he wasn’t surprised by the vote, though.
“Based on discussions with people over the weekend, it went how I expected,” Sloan said. “I expected it to be closer. But to be honest, who really knew how it would go?”
Kugler said the city will inform residents that the addition of fluoride will resume again, probably in the city’s April newsletter. The city also will pick up the tab for Tuesday’s special election, which could be up to $8,000.
“We will get a bill from the county for the election,” Kugler said. “It’s our responsibility.”
Kugler said he doesn’t expect anyone to challenge the results or to seek to overturn the decision of the voters.
“If something does come up, we’ll look into it and see what can be done,” he said. “But at this time, we have no reason to believe that will happen.”
Sloan said the only way he sees something happening is if the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services lowers its fluoride level recommendation again.
“When they made the last recommendation, they indicated it could happen again,” Sloan said. “When that is, I am not sure. It could be in a year ... five years ... 10 years. We will have to wait and see.”
Raju Woodward can be contacted at 758-9526 or firstname.lastname@example.org.