Missoula Seeks Takeover of City Water System

By Beacon Staff

MISSOULA — The city of Missoula wants to use eminent domain to acquire the water company that serves its residents.

The city filed for condemnation of Mountain Water Co. on Wednesday in District Court in Missoula.

City leaders have tried to purchase the water company from its owner, the Carlyle Group. The city’s $50 million offer was rejected in January.

State law authorizes the city to acquire and operate a water system for public use, by either negotiating a purchase or through its power of eminent domain.

Mayor John Engen says it’s in the best interest of Missoula residents for the city to own the water supply system as a public utility, without seeking to turn a profit.

If a judge agrees condemnation is warranted, the judge would set a fair price.

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