A private equity firm that owns Missoula's water system has rejected the city's $50 million offer to buy the assets of Mountain Water Co.

The Missoulian reports the Carlyle Group dismissed the offer Friday, saying it was significantly below a previous offer that the group also rejected.

Mayor John Engen has said if the offer was rejected the city would begin condemnation proceedings. Under that action, the city argues in District Court that it should be allowed to take the private property for public use and the judge would determine a fair price.

Engen said the Carlyle Group has suggested a $120 million price.

Missoula is the only major city in Montana that does not own its water system.