Buda residents ushered in big changes Tuesday night, voting against fluoridated water, filling a couple of City Council seats and adopting a switch to geographic-based council districts.
Two-thirds of the voters in Tuesday’s election said Buda should not add fluoride to its water, rejecting a practice that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has heralded as one of the top 10 great public health achievements in the 20th century because it prevents tooth decay.
For years Buda received fluoridated water from the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority, which operates the San Marcos Water Treatment Plant. But when San Marcos residents voted in November 2015 to stop fluoridating their water, Buda and other cities that get their water from that plant also lost fluoridation.
The City Council agreed this year to let voters decide whether to add fluoride back into the water Buda receives from the plant. Activists argued that residents should decide for themselves whether they want the additive in their water.
In the city’s two contested City Council races, Paul Daugereau, a public sector manager at Waste Management, Inc., clinched the Place 4 seat with 64 percent of votes over Jose Montoya, a retired state employee and former council member.
“We’ve got a lot of stuff going on out here, especially the roads and the drainage projects we need to get moving forward on,” Daugereau said. “I’m happy to be a part of it.”
Remy Fallon, co-owner and manager of Helen’s Casa Alde, the city’s oldest restaurant, won the Place 5 seat with 63 percent of the vote over Clark Beach, a sound and video designer who serves on Buda’s Planning and Zoning Commission.
Fallon said hiring more police officers is one of her priorities.
“The police department has a disproportionate officer-to-citizen ratio,” Fallon said. “We have 19 officers and 16,000 people. Citizens are concerned about the lack of patrols, but it’s kind of hard to do that with the lack of manpower.”
Without opposition, Council Member George Haehn won the mayor’s seat, and Evan Ture, who does sales and marketing for an energy storage company, clinched the Place 6 seat.
About 61 percent of voters also approved changes to the city charter that will transition the City Council from members serving “at large” to officials representing specific geographic districts.
The first three City Council seats will make the transition in the November 2018 election, and the following three will switch over once the city reaches a population of 25,000. Buda’s population was 15,023 as of the Census Bureau’s 2016 estimates.