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Thompson Town Board comes to aid of Melody Lake residents

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Albany/HV: Thompson Town Board comes to aid of Melody Lake residents
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During an emergency town hall meeting, the town of Thompson board moved to take temporary control of Melody Lake's water system. YNN's Eva McKend has more on what the decision means for people in the Sullivan County community.

THOMPSON, N.Y. -- For months, Dawn DiMilta and her neighbors have not had consistent access to water. They say they've been abandoned by private water management companies.

A new chapter in their saga began Friday as the town of Thompson agreed to temporarily take over the water supply in Melody Lake. The welcomed news brought tears to Dawn's daughter's eyes.

"It's hard when we are texting back and forth when she [my mother] broke her ribs. She worked all day because she had to go to work, she was in pain and she wanted to come home and take a hot shower and run hot water over her back because her back was in such pain from the broken ribs and there was no water," said Lisa Blomme.

Members of the town board had some reservations about taking over the water operation. It will cost more than $2 million in repairs alone, but after the town met with the Department of Health on Thursday, they decided something must be done.

"I think we’ve been kicking the can down the road far too long and after meetings yesterday with the health department and others, it’s about time we made a decision, one way or the other to help these people out or not to help them out," said Thompson supervisor Anthony Cellini.

Although water supplier White Knight Management submitted a petition to the state to abandon the Melody Lake water system, the town of Thompson says that petition was never granted. And now, residents say, the Public Service Commission, the group that is supposed to hold private corporations responsible, is nowhere to be found. Neither White Knight nor the PSC was available for comment.

"How they let White Knight just walk away from it is beyond me. White Knight sends them a letter saying guess what, we're not responsible anymore and they just go 'bye-bye' and the Public Service Commission has done nothing to change it," said Melody Lake resident Elliot Levy.

The town board's unanimous decision to help the people of Melody Lake isn't the end of this long fight. They board will now have to work with the public service commission in order to be designated an official water district.

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