CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Pratt Waterworks' debt to the Internal Revenue Service will be one of the items looked at when West Virginia American Water officials decide whether to purchase the struggling town water company.
"It's part of the larger picture that we would have to consider," said Laura Jordan, West Virginia American Water spokeswoman.
The IRS has placed tax liens on both the city and the city-owned waterworks for unpaid taxes.
County and city leaders have been working on a deal to sell the town water company to West Virginia American Water.
County commissioners recently learned the town-owned water company owes about $46,000 in back taxes, penalties and interest. The town itself also owes about $96,000 in back taxes.
The town also owes about $247,000 on the water treatment and distribution facilities, Commission President Kent Carper said.
"That part of the debt isn't that bad," he said. "That can be managed."
However, West Virginia American Water officials are still looking over the Pratt financial records.
"We're just not at a place where we can propose a deal yet," Jordan said.
She couldn't say when a deal would be put before town leaders.
County Commissioner Dave Hardy is a native of Pratt, and his parents still live in the small eastern Kanawha County community.
Hardy hopes to get the deal done sooner rather than later, and he has even said he would support having the county pay for a special election to place the issue before town voters.
Town voters would have to approve any sale.
"I think we're going to expedite the election and try to have it as soon as possible," he said.
The general election is on Nov. 6 and Hardy hopes to have the issue before voters no later than that date.
"And we're going to have an independent person look at Pratt's financials," he said.