Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Dunedin calls special meeting to settle fluoride debate

DUNEDIN — City leaders will settle Dunedin's fluoride controversy once and for all with a vote during a special meeting late this month.

The meeting, set for 6 p.m. Nov. 29, will be the second meeting in a months-old debate over whether to stop fluoridating city water to avoid spending $50,000 to replace the city's aging fluoride storage tank. Budget planners, asked this summer to submit cost-cutting ideas, said nixing fluoride also could save the city nearly $17,000 in annual costs for the additive.

In September nearly 40 people, including residents from North Redington Beach and Tarpon Springs, attended a City Hall workshop where they decried fluoride as unnecessary and potentially harmful. Only one person, a local dentist, spoke in favor of keeping fluoride in the water.

The Dunedin City Commission called for another workshop, this time in the evening at the larger Hale Activity Center, so more residents could express their views. The commission can't take formal votes during workshops, so officials had planned to either follow up with a vote during a regular commission meeting or possibly send the issue to a voter referendum.

However, commissioners last week decided to change the scope and location of the Nov. 29 gathering, after city spokeswoman Courtney King raised concerns about logistics. They decided to change the planned workshop to a three-hour special meeting so they could vote that night.

Officials will devote two hours to public comments and one hour to commission discussion. Piggybacking off a request from the last fluoride discussion, they'll use color-coded speaker cards to alternate pro and con speakers. Public comments will be capped at three minutes each, with priority given to Dunedin residents.

"We should make sure Dunedin residents get their say," Commissioner David Carson said.

"I think the people who came out the first time came out for change," Mayor Dave Eggers said. "I think you'll see the other side at that second workshop."

After a lengthy debate, the City Commission also voted 3-2 to move the meeting back to City Hall to avoid spending at least $1,500 on extra staff and other television production costs for the Hale Center.

Capacity at City Hall is 80 people. But unlike the Hale Center, it's already set up with the equipment needed to stream the event live on the web and to record it for rebroadcast. King said the 125 to 150 residents who turned out for a recent commission discussion on the controversial Patricia Avenue road closure seemed "pretty happy" with City Hall's overflow outdoor seating and audio system.

In light of Pinellas County's recent decision to stop fluoridating water, Commissioner Julie Ward Bujalski called the venue change a mistake. Eggers also voted no.

"We're fooling ourselves if we think we're not going to have more people than Patricia. We're going to have people from all over the county," Bujalski said.

"If it storms … you've got no place to put all those people. I was slightly embarrassed to see all those people sit outside for Patricia Avenue when we have all these buildings we pay a lot of money for."

Coupled with the time limits on public comments, "I just think we're not being very friendly to people who want to talk about an issue," she said.

Her colleagues countered that they want to hear from everyone, but they also want to avoid endless hours of redundancy and to use existing television and web resources to provide meeting access to as many residents as possible.

"I think we're being accommodating. We could be more accommodating," Commissioner Ron Barnette said. "But, pragmatically, I don't think we should."

Keyonna Summers can be reached at or (727) 445-4153.

>>if you go

Fluoride debate

What: Dunedin City Commission special meeting on fluoride in the city's water supply

When: 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 29

Where: Dunedin City Hall, 542 Main St.

Web: Visit to watch last week's debate over meeting logistics. Click "commission discussion."

Dunedin calls special meeting to settle fluoride debate 11/15/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 15, 2011 6:57pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pinellas receives two charter school applications


    Following a two-year dry spell, the Pinellas County school district has received two new applications to open charter schools in St. Petersburg.

    Windsor Preparatory Academy in St. Petersburg could be home to Pinellas Academy of Math and Science's St. Petersburg campus. The Pinellas County school district received a charter school application from that school's leadership this fall to open in 2018.
  2. Southern Heritage group draws fire for posting personal information of Confederate statue opponents


    TAMPA — Curtiss Wilson is an 89-year-old Tampa resident who fought in the civil rights movement.

    A report by Save Southern Heritage Florida includes the "affiliation" of more than 100 people who spoke at the July 19 commission meeting in favor of removing  the Confederate monument from in front of the old county courthouse in Tampa. People on the list say the report was meant to intimidate and harrass opponents of the monument. Save Southern Heritage director Doug Guetzloe said the report is "opposition research" meant to to inform elected officials about who was speaking on the issue.
[Save Southern Heritage Florida]
  3. Gen. Votel interview: 'A bit of a stalemate' in Afghanistan, but a chance to optimize gains there


    In developing the plan for the war in Afghanistan that he announced Monday night, President Donald Trump consulted with advisers including his military leaders throyugh their chain of command.

  4. Water Street Tampa unveils illustrations showing downtown's transformation


    TAMPA — Water Street Tampa, the sweeping, 50-plus acre redevelopment project in Tampa's urban core, has unveiled new images and video of what the downtown district will look like upon completion.

    Strategic Property Partners released a conceptual image of what the Tampa skyline will look like once its redevelopment of 50-plus acres of downtown will look like. [Photo courtesy of  of SPP]
  5. Bill Nelson shares Rick Scott's cautious stance on Confederate monuments


    On the issue of Confederate monuments, Sen. Bill Nelson is taking the cautious route of Gov. Rick Scott.