MISSOULA, Mont. - Monday night, council members gave the mayor the go-ahead to offer $50 million for Mountain Water Company. That's what city lawyers and officials estimate is closer to the fair valuation of Mountain Water's assets than the $120 million the Carlyle Group recently priced it at for a city buyout.
Mayor John Engen noted that is double what the Carlyle Group paid for Mountain Water in 2011.
11 city council members voted yes on the mayor's current offer.
Engen expects the Carlyle Group to reject the city's $50 million offer, at which point, the mayor will go back to the council for approval of condemnation procedures. Engen is stressing that the city plans to keep current Mountain Water employees in place.
Citizens are divided. At tonight's meeting, resident Paul Bohan said, "I see no benefit in the city owning it."
Russ Kogh got up to say, "I think it's absolutely critical that a city controls it's own water supply and with the movement of the sale to an additional entity from Carlyle's hands. I think we have a moment to grab a water utility before it becomes a global commodity and continues to be sold."
Condemnation proceedings would take place in District Court. Should they move forward, it would be the court's authority to set a price for the water utility's assets.
Click here to read Engen's offer for the Carlyle Group.