Officials just want to get the whole water fluoridation decision over and done with.
They wrestled with logistics for a on whether the city should discontinue fluoridating its water supply to save $50,000. Some believe the practice is either fiscally wasteful or .
Given the convtroversy, officials were divided, ultimately voting 3-2 to hold the meeting at a smaller, less-accommodating venue — . They did all agree on one point. On Nov. 29, they are deciding once and for all about fluoridation.
The issue at a discussion in September. Around 40 people, some traveling from as far as Tarpon Springs and North Redington Beach, spoke against fluoridating the city’s water supply. Only one person spoke in favor.
Commissioners, however, deferred the discussion for a time and venue that would allow more residents to make their voices heard.
was originally proposed for its large seating capacity, but it was ultimately scrapped because it would cost the city roughly $1,500 in staffing and communication equipment.
City spokeswoman Courtney King told officials that City Hall, despite its smaller, 80-person capacity, would be less challenging because the building is already outfitted with the proper camera and audio equipment.
At a recent closure, people were lined up outside and packed around the live-streaming television in the lobby.
“It seemed like everybody was pretty happy,” King told commissioners, with a caveat for some logistical improvements (i.e., moving the TV outside to "dissipate sound").
Julie Ward Bujalski wanted the meeting at a larger venue.
“I think we’re going to have many more people for fluoride,” she said, especially since the meeting comes on the heels of a landmark county decision to eliminate fluoride from its supply — a major victory for the most vocal camp.
“We don’t want to hear from visitors from Tampa or Tarpon Springs,” a commissioner remarked.
“Yeah, but you can’t stop someone from the county from coming in here and taking a seat,” Bujalski said. “If it storms or rains somewhere, then what are you gonna do? Where are you gonna put those people? … I don’t understand why this commission doesn’t want to be accommodating.”
But even Ron Barnette, who typically invites philosophical debate, disagreed.
“We could be more accommodating,” he conceded, “but I don’t think pragmatically we should be.”
Julie Scales, David Carson and Barnette voted to keep the meeting at City Hall. Bujalski and Mayor Dave Eggers voted for a larger venue.
The three-hour, special meeting is at 6 p.m., Nov. 29 at . All speakers will be limited to three minutes. Dunedin residents will be given preference.