Mountain Water Company Launches Anti-Condemnation Website [YouTube]
The Mountain Water Company has launched a new website that answers frequently asked questions regarding its positions on the company's forced takeover by the City of Missoula through condemnation.
Mountain Water Company President and General Manager John Kappes said the city deserves to have clear, factual information about the city's attempt to take over the company, and what that would mean to the future of Missoula.
"The website, Mountain Water Facts.com also talks about the proposal by Liberty Utilities to purchase the company," Kappes said. "We feel we have a very good option with Liberty Utilities with their strong operational business plan, that it would be the best option for us here at Mountain Water."
Kappes said the City of Missoula has neither a strong operational plan, nor a viable financial plan for the water company.
"So far, we haven't seen that the city has a strong financial plan, and it's not the necessary direction for this community to go," he said. "We feel the city has been served very well from the 1800's until the present by private ownership of the water company."
Kappes is also deeply concerned that, under city ownership, the utility would be outside the regulatory control of the Montana Public Service Commission.
"The challenge would be for the community to see how rates would be set under that kind of environment," Kappes said. "Right now, the Public Service Commission looks at all our costs to make sure they're reasonable and prudent, and I think it's an important protection the community does get from government oversight, and that is something that won't be there under city ownership."
Kappes wants to remind residents that the city was unsuccessful the last time it attempted to wrest control of the company via condemnation.
"Back in the 1980's the city was unsuccessful in being able to condemn the assets of the company, so we encourage the mayor and the city council to look at Liberty Utilities as a good option and to let us continue to serve the community well as a regulated public utility."
Kappes will be a guest soon on KGVO's Talk Back program, to answer questions from the community regarding Mountain Water's stance on the continuing condemnation issue.
The city has a court date in mid-March to address its attempt to acquire the water system from Park Water and the Carlyle Group. So far, the city has spent over $700,000 in the effort.