State To Move Money After 7 News Raises Questions

State To Move Money After 7 News Raises Questions

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The state Department of Health says it's shifting hundreds of thousands of dollars that were going to the Town of Gouverneur, after 7 News raised questions about how the money would be spent.

Earlier this week, Governor Cuomo announced the city of Watertown and the Town of Gouverneur were each getting $607,000 to replace drinking water lines contaminated by lead.

But Town of Gouverneur supervisor Bob Ritchie told 7 News the town's water lines were only 15 to 20 years old, and he was not aware of any lead pipes that could lead to contamination.

Village of Gouverneur mayor Ron McDougall agreed. 

"When you talk about infrastructure, they're reasonably modern, 15-20 years old at the maximum."

McDougall said "it is a little unlikely" there is any lead in the town water lines that can cause contamination.

After 7 News asked state officials why they're sending money where it apparently isn't needed, the Department of Health said late Friday it would shift the money from the town to the village - and there it can apparently be put to good use.

Mayor McDougall said lead problems exist in the village.

"Unfortunately we do meet some of the criteria for that with the age of the housing and some blood samples that were taken quite some time ago."

The state awarded the money to Gouverneur and elsewhere by formula, based on the percentage of children with elevated lead levels, median household income and the number of homes built before 1939.

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