Missoula Mayor John Engen thinks the "time is right" to buy Mountain Water Company.

Engen is asking the council for permission to enter into negotiations and, if negotiations fail, to pursue condemnation.

Carlyle Infrastructure Group bought Mountain Water almost two years ago. It agreed to give the city a first bid chance if it came up for sale.

Engen said he believes the water system is a public asset, best owned and operated by the public through municipal government.

The committee of the whole will discuss the proposal Wednesday. Public comment is welcome. That meeting starts at 3 p.m. in city council chambers.

NBC Montana plans to be there to bring you the latest details.