On March 6, 2024

Rutland city votes to keep fluoride in water

By Katy Savage

Rutland City voters opted to not change the language of a charter to remove fluoride from the water.

The measure failed by 687 votes (2031-1344) on Town Meeting Day, March 5.

Some residents at public hearings in January had mixed feelings, saying fluoride in the city water is a violation of medical ethics. Dentists said fluoride helps prevent tooth decay, particularly for those who can’t otherwise afford dental care.

This wasn’t the first time the fluoride issue appeared on the ballot and failed. About 60% of residents rejected the charter change in 2016.

Voters approved a $25,128,435 budget on Tuesday, which is up about 7% from last year’s  $23,261,061 budget.

The $63.8 million school budget, up 5.4% over the previous year, also passed.

Familiar faces were elected to the Rutland City Board of Aldermen.

Incumbent Sharon Davis, who has served on the board for 34 years, was the top vote getter on Tuesday, with 2,133 votes, followed by incumbent Michael Talbott with 1841 votes in unofficial results.

Henry Heck took third place with 1,776 votes and previous Board of Aldermen member Matt Whitcomb took the fourth spot with 1,733 votes.

Incumbent Anna Tadio took the fifth spot with 1,724 votes.

Political newcomer Eddie Grove and Bob Pearo, Jr. were not elected, receiving 944 and 1,517 respectively.

“I think that speaks to Rutland looking for the experience,” Rutland City Mayor Michael Doenges said in an interview on PEGTV Tuesday night.

Heck, who previously served as town clerk before he was ousted by Doenges last March, also appeared on PEGTV Tuesday night, saying he wants to make a “better Rutland” and work with other board members. “I’m all about working together,” he said. “I look forward to working with the older Aldermen.”

There were four candidates seeking election to three 3-year seats on the School Board.  Justine Franco, a former school nurse, was the top vote getter with 1,785 votes, followed by Charlene Stoodley with 1,399 votes, Charlene Seward with 1,399 votes and Jen Rondinone with 1,364 votes in unofficial results.

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