The Smithville Aldermen voted 5-0 Monday night to re-activate fluoridation of the city's water supply, but no date certain has been set on when that will occur. It could be weeks or months.
City officials say the machine that feeds the fluoride into the water system broke down about a year and a half ago and was never repaired or replaced.
At the April 6th meeting, Smithville physician Dr. Steven Cooper and dentist Dr. Mitchell Tatum addressed the Smithville Mayor and Board of Aldermen asking that the fluoridation be re-activated for the benefit of the citizens.
Concerned citizen Gary Durham, who first raised the issue several weeks ago, isn't happy that the city never fixed the problem when it occurred, that city leaders never notified the public when the fluoride treatment had been discontinued, and that there now may be an extended delay.
Alderman Steve White made a motion that the treatment be started again, and to let the public know when, but that the city first consult with officials of Wauford Engineering Company about whether the new fluoride machines should be installed now or included as part of the design of the rehabilitation of the Water Treatment Plant. Alderman Tonya Sullivan requested that any needed safety equipment to support the fluoride treatment procedure also be purchased before the process is begun.
In other business, Mayor Taft Hendrixson briefly mentioned that a workshop was held Thursday night to discuss the firefighter's request but that more discussion will follow on that issue during budget preparation time.
Smithville firefighters want their all volunteer unit to become a combination department with a few full time firefighters as well as volunteers. They are also asking that some extra funds be designated in the budget for training and that the firefighters pay scale be changed.
In the proposal, the firefighters want the city to fund two full time firefighter positions per 24 hour shift, for a total of six positions along with an administrative person.
Concerned citizen Faye Sandosky addressed the mayor with some questions about how members are appointed to the Industrial Development Board and Smithville Electric System Board. "At the last meeting, at the city attorney's advice, the previous appointments to the Smithville Electric Board and the Industrial Board were set aside. I don't know either of the gentlemen personally. My concern is that at no time have the requirements of the job or the selection criteria been mentioned here. I have a few very simple questions before any further actions are taken on the appointments. I would like the mayor to respond since he makes the appointments."
"What does the job require? What is the criteria? Is diversity a consideration? Does the manager of Smithville Electric and or the Smithville Board provide input? What benefits go along with the appointment? What do eligible residents/citizens of the city need to do to have their names considered and is it too late for that?"
Mayor Hendrixson responded " I don't have to answer these questions. These are my appointments and I make the decisions. The board either approves them or disapproves them.
" The Job requirements? They make decisions on these boards that they are appointed to."
" What is the criteria? I have contacted both of these boards and they both recommend those two people that I appointed."
"Diversity? I know I have appointed some women on some boards since I have been here."
"Does the manager of Smithville Electric and the Industrial Board provide input? Yes ma'am they do."
"What benefits go along with the appointment of an industrial board? To my knowledge they get one meal every quarter, if they meet every quarter. Most of the time they don't meet that often. On the Smithville Electric Board, I don't know what they get paid, if anything. They do have some fringe benefits to go along with those appointments such as insurance."
"What do they do to have their names considered? Well, again that's my appointments to make and the board of each one of these places have recommended that I appoint the ones I did."
At the April 6th meeting, the aldermen voted 4-0 to set aside the appointments of Tim Stribling to the Industrial Development Board and Walter Burton to the Smithville Electric System Board after City Attorney Vester Parsley, Jr. issued an opinion that the mayor should have first notified the aldermen in writing of his intentions before making the appointments, according to the city charter.
The mayor has not yet re-submitted the names for consideration and those positions remain vacant.