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On hold: Buda slams the brakes on scheduled fluoridation

Staff report 

The saga involving the reintroduction of fluoride into the Buda public water system took an unexpected turn last week as city officials opted to hold on the matter in order to gather more public feedback. 

Buda City Manager Kenneth Williams last Thursday announced the scheduled fluoridation of the city’s water supply was put on hold, according to a press release.

The reasoning for the administrative decision was based on feedback received from Buda City Council members and the public.

Anti-fluoride protesters used signs that said “Hear Us!” as part of a silent protest at the Jan. 3 Buda City Council meeting. (photo by Moses Leos III)

Anti-fluoride protesters used signs that said “Hear Us!” as part of a silent protest at the Jan. 3 Buda City Council meeting. (photo by Moses Leos III)

However, the decision to hold on the fluoridation is not final and is temporarily in place “until the city council may revisit and make a more permanent decision,” according to the release.

In the interim, Buda Mayor Todd Ruge requested a public hearing to be held at the Feb. 7 city council meeting to gather more input.

According to the release, fluoridation won’t take place prior to the public hearing.

“We felt that it would be disingenuous of us to fluoridate the water before the public hearing,” Ruge said in an interview on the decision to halt the scheduled fluoridation. “I received multiple emails calling for a public hearing on this issue so that’s what we are doing,” Ruge said.

In December 2016, Buda city leaders chose to resume adding fluoride to the city’s water supply.

Buda’s surface water portion of its water supply had been continuously fluoridated since they became customers of the Guadalupe Blanco River Authority in 2002, according to the release. The fluoridation stopped in November 2015 when the GBRA stopped fluoridating the supply source at the San Marcos treatment plant.

The city’s decision to restart fluoridation, however, ignited a firestorm of controversy as numerous residents spoke out during public comment at the Jan. 3 and Jan. 17 city council meetings to express their concerns over the type of fluoride being used.

“At this time we are still working out what will appear on the agenda for the Feb. 7 city council meeting, but no action can be taken by council during a public hearing,” Ruge said.

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