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Council approves $140M bond package to buy Mountain Water - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Council approves $140M bond package to buy Mountain Water

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(MTN News file photo) (MTN News file photo)
MISSOULA -

The City of Missoula is on its way to owning Mountain Water, with the city council approving the sale of $140 million in bonds to pay for the utility. Monday night's vote comes as the end of a pitched legal battle, with contingencies to clean up any remaining items in the total cost.

Just a few weeks short of two years since Missoula took Mountain Water Company and it's corporate owners The Carlyle Group to court, council members voted to issue the bonds which will finish paying for the water utility. 

The total bonds, which represent two different packages, cover the 88-million dollar price set by the courts during condemnation proceedings, as well as millions in legal fees and a first round of system upgrades. 

Mayor John Engen and the council once more expressed their confidence in the initiative, with assurances the utility's funding and operation are a stand-alone financial venture.

"Monies are secured only by the water system, not by general tax obligations. There's no effect on property taxes with the issuance of this financing," Engen said. "There's no pledge of the general credit of the City of Missoula and there's no impact on the city's general obligation bond credit rating."

"But my sincere hope and my sincere belief is that these actions will be judged even more favorably in a hundred years, or 500 years," Missoula City Councilman Jordan Hess said.

"I feel very comfortable voting on this. And I think Missoula is excellently situated to make this very successful," Missoula City Councilman Gwen Jones stated.

Outside of a couple of comments from regular council attendees, approval of the bonds came without any big showing of opposition, or support from the public. 

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