Missoula District Judge Karen Townsend announced Thursday that she’ll approve Missoula’s $93 million takeover of its water utility, making public the system that provides local residents with drinking water.
Even now, though, the global hedge fund that previously owned Mountain Water Co. continues to protest the condemnation.
Townsend wasn’t deterred by the last-minute plea by attorney Bill Mercer, representing the Carlyle Group, that the city’s takeover goes beyond what’s allowed under Montana law.
Instead, the judge said she intends to approve the city’s motion for final judgment during a hearing on June 22. She’ll hear arguments that day on the final order of condemnation.
The city and Liberty Utilities, the Canadian company that now owns Mountain Water, are expected to sign the final documents at that hearing.
The company will then be called Missoula Water, the culmination of a decades-long quest by a litany of mayors and city councils to own the city’s drinking water supply. Missoula is the only city in Montana where the utility is privately owned.