"I'd say the town's flat broke and non-solvent," Hardy said. "I'm not willing to put anymore coal severance money into the town. It's like a bathtub with an open drain."
Commission President Kent Carper is also frustrated.
"Frankly, the people of Pratt deserve much better than this," Carper said. "They work hard and they pay their taxes."
The town's money woes affect its people as well as people in Hansford and Paint Creek, who rely on the town's water system. In June the system sent notices to its customers that levels of haloacetic acids in the water exceed the Environmental Protection Agency's maximum of 60 parts per billion.
County engineer John Luoni said the levels averaged almost 66 parts per billion.
The town shed its sewer system recently, turning it over to the Chelyan Public Service District.
Unless the area can has a decent water supply, Pratt is unlikely to grow and develop a stronger tax base. But providing a decent water supply will be difficult unless Pratt can get a handle on its financial problems.
It's a tough situation that will require some really close cooperation. It's unclear what the solution is, but West Virginians need to find it.