CASSADAGA - After all the controversy and drama, the results were decisive Wednesday night. The Cassadaga Village Board voted 4 to 1 against fluoridation of the water system that serves the village, Lily Dale and the Cassadaga Job Corps Academy.
Before the vote, the public once again had the opportunity to address the board. Most of the speakers had spoken before and reiterated their arguments against fluoride.
Rudy Abersold thanked the board for "taking the time to send postcards to all the water customers."
At the last meeting, the board decided to send a postcard to water customer asking whether the customer was for or against fluoridation.
Dan Bauman wondered why he did not get a card and who did receive cards. Lazarony explained all water customers received a card.
"I get a water bill," Bauman pointed out.
Clerk Roxanne Astry said, "I know you do. I don't know why you didn't receive it. Sorry."
Mayor LeeAnn Lazarony asked Bauman if he wanted to give his opinion now. Bauman declined.
Another resident asked that the survey numbers be read. Lazarony said that would not be read at the time since public comment would go back and forth "and we would be here all night." She said the numbers would be available after the meeting.
The board decided to take the vote on fluoride before other parts of the agenda.
Deputy Mayor Rodney Waite made the motion to fluoridate the water. Trustee Ronald DeChard seconded the motion. Waite voted for the motion, but trustees DeChard, Michael Lehnen, Valerie Culverwell and Lazarony voted all against.
The audience applauded the results.
Lazarony addressed the public. "Different ideas are a good thing, not a bad thing. If everybody sat on this board and agreed to everything it wouldn't be much of a board. So I am glad the issue came up and we discuss things, sometimes heatedly. We get passionate because we care about this community."
DeChard commented, "This is one of the toughest votes I've tossed around. You have to take what you feel and take pros and cons. ... What really decides it is what you hear from the people. I would love to see board meetings where we had 500 people here; I'd love it.
Culverwell also commented that she heard from a lot of people. "We've done a lot of research ourselves."
After the meeting, the results of the survey were made available. Cassadaga sent cards to 450 water customers and 141 replied for a response rate of 31 percent.
Of those who replied, 18 percent favored fluoridation while 78 percent opposed it. Five responses or 3 percent were undecided.