In March of this year, Sen. Johnson, when asked what the startup costs would be for Fort Smith, stated to legislators that it would be between $90,000 and $100,000 dollars. (Southwest Times)
According to the Southwest Times today, the actual startup estimated costs will be 1.4 million to 1.7 million.
The legislators were also told that Delta Dental would pay $500,000, which should cover the cost for startup.
Act 197 (SB 359) states, “A water system required to fluoridate under this section is not required to comply with the requirements of this section until funds sufficient to pay capital startup costs for fluoridation equipment for the system have become available from any source other than tax revenue or service revenue regularly collected by the company, corporation, municipality, county, or other government agency that owns or controls the water system.”
Where is the rest of the money going to come from?
It is also estimated the annual operating and maintenance expenses, estimated to be about $90,000, would be covered from user rates. We are sure that this cost will have to be passed down to the water customers. Considering that the voters of Fort Smith voted against water fluoridation, this is truly an unfunded mandate. This is not about whether or not you agree with water fluoridation, but the cost.
Please attend this meeting tomorrow or call the board members to question the cost of this state mandate. The board will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Fort Smith Public Schools Service Center, Building B, 3205 Jenny Lind.
Steve Sanders, 479-784-2204
Steve Tyler, 479-782-7221
Andre Good, 479-782-9448
Rev. Don Hutchings, 479-646-1029
George Catsavis, 479-806-1734
Pam Weber, 479-651-2167
Kevin Settle, 479-648-2872
Phillip H. Merry, Jr. 479-926-0939