Spokane City Council motions to defer vote on fluoride ordinance

Sound Off for September 14th: Would you like to see Spokane’s water fluoridated?

SPOKANE, Wash. — The vote on whether or not to fluoridate Spokane’s water could be delayed.

The Spokane City Council will consider a motion to defer the vote on the proposed fluoride ordinance during its 3:30 p.m. briefing session Monday. The vote is scheduled for 6 p.m.

“I expect that it will be removed from tonight’s legislative agenda,” said council president Breean Beggs. “The vote on the contract accepting funds from the Arcora Foundation will still likely be on the agenda. The revised contract provides funds that could be used to study, design and implement community water fluoridation and allows the City to make a final decision on implementation over the next four years. The terms of the proposed contract allow the City to either continue or end the fluoridation process at any time, subject to repaying any grant funds used in the process.”

The City Council has been looking at passing fluoridation through executive order. Mayor Nadine Woodward has been critical of the council’s approach and believes it should go to voters, who have shot down fluoridation several times in the past.

Spokane does not currently add fluoride to its water. The city has between 0.1 and 0.5 milligrams per liter due to naturally occurring fluoride. The federal Department of Health and Human Services recommends 0.7 milligrams per liter.

The council has been in talks with the Arcora Foundation to help finance fluoridation, should it pass. Adding fluoride to Spokane’s water would cost around $4 million. Arcora, a dental health foundation, has offered to provide and raise the money for the city, but it would cost $600,000 a year to maintain. That equates to about two to three dollars per person in the city, per year.

RELATED: Spokane City Council to vote on fluoridation at Monday’s meeting