City rescinds flouride vote

By ANNE KAZMIERCZAK
Register Reporter

HUMBOLDT — A readily passed decision by Humboldt City Council members last month became a hot button issue at Monday night’s session.
On May 11, the council unanimously voted to add fluoride to Humboldt’s municipal water supply at .7 to 1.1 parts per million, a level sufficient to combat tooth decay.
That was still too much for some Humboldt residents, who believe no amount of the substance is safe.
Paul Finney, a local acupuncturist, likened fluoride, which occurs naturally in the Neosho River in small amounts, to an insecticide.
Finney also mentioned cities that had discontinued fluoridation of their water supplies in the 1990s, though gave no reason as to their decisions.
One community he mentioned on the list, Wichita, has actually never fluoridated its water. Its naturally occurring levels are higher than those found in Humboldt waters.
Finney and David Weilert, a chiropractor, argued that the public should be allowed to choose whether to ingest a substance they called “toxic” and “caustic.” Finney went so far as to bring a materials safety data sheet for pure sodium flouride, one form of the chemical.
That got the ire of councilman Dan Julich, who noted such sheets are for workers using the chemical, not consumers of a highly diluted product. “It says right here, dilute it with water,” Julich read from the sheet.
Another councilman, Sam Murrow, added “It’s all about dosage levels. Any medication is toxic in too large a dose.”
Murrow, a paramedic, asked “Why, if it’s so toxic, have I never heard a doctor ask in an emergency situation for a blood fluoride level?”
Weilert argued adding fluoride to the water will be a hardship to the poor, who would have to buy reverse osmosis filters to remove it from their drinking supply if they did not want it. “If you want to help people, give them a toothbrush,” Weilert said.
John Hodgden, Humboldt water treatment plant superintendent, said during a tour of the plant last month that inexpensive faucet filters will remove a good portion of added fluoride for those who so desire.
Nonetheless, councilman Jeremy Weilert, David Weilert’s nephew, made a motion to rescind last month’s decision. Weilert was not at last month’s meeting. The motion was seconded by Jerry Griffith and passed on a 6-2 vote. Voting against rescision were Vada Aikins and Sean McReynolds.
The issue will be revisited during next month’s regular meeting.

THE COUNCIL reviewed revised zoning regulations and a corresponding overlay map, the culmination of a six-month process by the Humboldt Planning Commission. Changes to the ordinance include the addition of multifamily, suburban and planned unit development zones.
“We don’t have anything in our current guidelines that address this. To plan for growth you have to include new things,” City Administrator Larry Tucker said. “We tried to identify all the land uses here in Humboldt and within a three-mile radius.”
A highway service district, allowing for ease of business development along Ninth Street (old Hwy. 169) and adult entertainment districts were also included.
Tucker said the adult entertainment district was required by law, but that restrictions on the zone such as hours of operation were allowed.
The three-mile boundary confused some. Tucker explained the buffer does not give the city jurisdiction over those lands, which still fall under county zoning control, but gives the city a voice should a planning decision be made that would negatively impact adjacent city dwellers. Essentially, it is a transition zone between rural and urban uses.
Tucker said Monday’s review of the zoning regulations was a first reading, and no action was required at this time. Humboldt’s zoning regulations were last updated in 1972.

TRENTON Brown of Collection Bureau of Kansas, based in Topeka, addressed the council regarding the city taking on his agency’s services to assist in collecting past due municipal court fines and city utility fees. The agency would add a surcharge onto all court fines collected, allowing the city to collect the full amount due. Utility fees collected would be split between the city and the collection agency, with the agency receiving 25 percent of the fees collected. In cases requiring litigation, however, the city would be obligated to pay court and filiing fees associated with the collection process.
Fred Works, city attorney, asked for time to review the proposal and speak with representatives at the agency. The issue was tabled until next month.
The city unanimously approved a 3 percent raise for appointed city officials for the 2009-10 fiscal year. The adjustments take effect July 1. Regular expenditures of $40,847.26 were also approved. The city clerk position was named as the freedon of information officer, to handle requests under that law.
After an executive session, the city accepted a bid of $2,200 by Wayne Smith to purchase two city-owned lots at 220 S. 3rd and allow Chris Troxell to take a leave of absence.