BY BRIAN JONES
At a brisk, calm July 9 meeting, the West Point Board of Selectmen discussed grants and new police officers and heard concerns about water fluoridation from a couple of local citizens.
The meeting was the first with the new board and new administration.
Grant Writer Melanie Busby asked to award a bid for environmental work to the PM engineering firm.
“We were given a Brownfield grant,” she said. “It will not cost the city any money. The grant funds will be used to provide environmental assessments for development of commercial sites. If someone wants to buy a property, they have to have an environmental done before they can get a loan. This will help the city to get investors interested in sites.”
One grant is for $200,000 for petroleum sites, such as old service stations, and the other is $200,000 for hazardous sites.
“We received five proposals, and I recommend PM,” Busby said.
The other bidders were PPM, EarthCon, FTN and Neel-Schaeffer.
Her recommendation passed unanimously.
Police Chief Tim Brinkley asked for permission to hire a DUI enforcement officer and one additional patrolman.
“We have a DUI enforcement grant, and our DUI enforcement officer resigned and moved away,” Brinkley said. “We have to have a dedicated DUI officer to continue receiving grant funds.”
The board unanimously approved hiring the DUI officer, as well as an additional patrolman. WPPD is understaffed slightly, Brinkley said, and the additional hires will help to alleviate that.
The board also approved a request from Brinkley to add an additional $2 fee to court assessments to be used to fund a DARE officer in the local schools.
Chad Scott and Vaughn Blaylock appeared to ask the board to cease fluoridating the city’s water.
Scott has addressed the board about fluoridation a number of times previously.
“Most other countries that we would be compared to have rejected water fluoridation,” Scott said. “Their media, colleges and universities have had a more open review of this issue. When fluoridation first started they thought it made your tooth enamel harder, but this has been refuted by research done in the 1980s. The research has been hidden in medical journals. In the 1990s the CDC admitted that swallowing fluoride offers basically no benefit. They also said with all the access to fluoride we have today that forcing people to drink it through water is basically unnecessary.”
“The common theory is that if we take the fluoride out of our water, our teeth will rot,” Blaylock said. “Throughout the developed world the rate of tooth decay is no different with or without fluoride. The vast majority of Europe has rejected it, and recently Portland, Oregon, just threw it out of its water. I come at it because I have kids, a one-year-old and a five-year-old. A lot of scientific studies have been completed looking at fluoride in the water and brain development. Studies have shown an IQ loss of up to seven points in children who have drunk fluoridated water.
“How do you control the dosage when you fluoridate an entire water supply,” he said. “On tubes of toothpaste there is a warning that if you swallow more than is used for brushing, seek professional help immediately. If you drink an eight-ounce glass of water with one part per million fluoride, you are really close to the dosage where they tell you to call a poison control center. If you drink 10 ounces of water daily, you are the fluoride consumption level the FDA considers dangerous. What about infants who drink formula exclusively? The average infant is supposed to consume their body rate times two in water daily. An average 15-pound infant consumes 30 ounces of water per day, and 20 of those ounces are water. That comes to 160 percent of the amount of fluoride that the warning on the toothpaste tube tells you is dangerous.”
The board took no action, but Mayor Robbie Robinson asked Scott and Blaylock to leave their data for him to look at.
The board also voted to remove health care coverage for the selectmen and mayor. Ward 3 Selectman Jimmy Clark made the motion, seconded by Ward 2 Selectman William Binder.
“If the selectmen want health insurance, we’ll buy it ourselves,” Clark said.
The decision will save the city about $28,000 annually, Robinson said.
In other business, the board went into executive session for about fifty minutes to discuss legal issues.
[I have missed the selectmen meetings over the past several months due to schedule conflicts. I think the last one I went to was back in February, but before that I rarely missed a regular meeting. Tuesday’s session of the selectmen was a breath of fresh air. No fighting. No grandstanding. The meeting – even with an executive session – was barely an hour and a half long. The difference was amazing. I hope this is a sign of things to come. I’d like nothing more than to spend the next four years covering boring, short meetings. – Brian Jones] 0