The city of Missoula has taken ownership of the water utility that serves its residents after a three-year court battle.
The city bought Mountain Water Company for $84 million and paid another $6.8 million to developers who had a claim against the company. A separate bundle of transition costs, the bulk of which are attorneys’ fees, amounts to $7.5 million.
Mayor John Engen said city attorneys originally estimated the legal costs would be $400,000.
Missoula won the right to buy the utility in an eminent domain case. It now joins all 128 cities and towns in Montana in controlling and owning its own water and distribution system.
"Water will continue to come out of everyone’s tap when you turn the water on, most of the ways that people will be able to pay their bills for instance will stay the same,” says Ginny Merriam, the communications director for the City of Missoula.
Merriam says there are no immediate plans to change the rates.