Medical treatment via water supply not city's responsibility
Nebraska lawmakers overrode Gov. Dave Heineman's veto of LB245, which will require Nebraska cities or villages with populations of 1,000 or more to fluoridate their water -- unless voters decide otherwise.
It's not as radical a move as it seems; fluoridation was mandated in 1973, and although cities and villages were allowed to opt out of the mandate at that time, there was no provision for reconsidering that decision.
In good news for rural water districts like one being built for Bartley, Indianola and Cambridge, the responsibility remains with the communities being supplied with water -- which in this case are all smaller than the 1,000 population threshold.
Many words have been published here about the possible health affects of fluoridation, but we think there are more basic philosophical reasons to oppose addition of the chemical.
Yes, fluoride may help reduce tooth decay, but we don't feel it's a city's responsibility to provide any sort of blanket medical treatment to its population through the water supply. What's next? Vitamins? Antidepressants?
Taking care of our own health and that of our children is our own responsibility, not that of the city government.
We tend to agree with Gov. Heineman, who called it another unfunded mandate local taxpayers are forced to bear.
For McCook, the issue is moot, because we already have more than enough naturally occurring fluoride in our water supply.
Thankfully, the final bill extended the deadline for compliance two years, giving communities a chance to put the measure on a general election ballot, rather than calling a costly special election.
We tend to think voters here would turn down the idea of adding fluoride to our water, if they were given the chance.