The Hot Springs Board of Directors approved a resolution Tuesday night, after moving it from the consent agenda, to award a contract to Univar USA Inc. for fluorosilic acid to comply with a state mandate to add fluoride to the municipal water supply.
In her first board meeting since the death of her son, Christopher Carney, earlier this month, Hot Springs Mayor Ruth Carney said there were "not enough words" to express the gratitude for the love that was shown to her and her family during the past couple of weeks.
"I can't say thank you enough. We've experienced lots and lots of love," she said.
Larry Merriman, Major Capital Projects manager, told the board that Act 197, enacted by the Legislature in 2010, requires certain municipalities, based on population, to utilize fluoride in the water treatment process. Based on this requirement, the city's Ouachita Water Treatment Plant implemented a project to install the required equipment to introduce the fluoride into the treated water.
The fluoride system will be activated next week, Merriman said.
Crystal Harvey, a longtime opponent of adding fluoride to the water, told the board that most water departments do not have a copy of the standards regulating fluoride use and "just takes what the health department says the standards are."
"This is a contaminated chemical and it is up to the people who receive the chemical to test it," she said, and urged the board to look at the standards, and the analysis that is supposed to come with the chemical.
One other audience member said that fluoride "has been around a long time and there is no proof that this is a safe product for us."
"It's hazardous and toxic, and we need to take a better look at it," she said.
Interim City Manager Bill Burrough said the city is "making sure we're complying with the standards and the law." He said health department officials will be on hand when the fluoride system goes online to calibrate the amount that goes into the water supply.
The vote to grant the contract for the chemical was 5-1, with Carney casting the dissenting vote. District 2 Director Elaine Jones was absent from the meeting.
The board also moved a resolution approving a contract with Tyler Technologies for the upgrade of software, additional modules and annual maintenance agreement for the city's financial software program from the consent agenda to the new business agenda.
Discussion on this and other new business items were still underway at presstime.
Consent agenda items approved by the board included the following:
• A resolution authorizing the mayor to execute a lease agreement between the city and Seaport Airlines for office space in the terminal building at Hot Springs Memorial Field.
• A resolution awarding a contract extension to Arkansas Utility Protection services for pipeline locating services.
• A resolution awarding a contract to TLI Printing for sign production services for Kimery Park outfield advertising.
• A resolution making certain budget adjustments, and awarding a bid to AAA Construction for various roof repairs.
• A resolution extending an agreement with Delta Dental for the city's self-insured employee dental insurance.
• A resolution extending a contract with Metlife Travelers for group life and AD&D insurance.
• A resolution authorizing the filing and acceptance of a grant application from the Federal Emergency Management Agency's 2016 Assistance to Firefighters grant program.
• A resolution amending Resolution No. 6205 and naming a certain roadway Oaktree Lane.
• A resolution authorizing the city manager to negotiate the price and terms for solid waste collection services within annexed areas.Local on 12/16/2015