Mountain Water Company President Criticizes City Plan
During this week’s Missoula city Council meeting, the council voted to approve plans for municipal ownership of Mountain Water Company.
The city council vote came before the Montana Supreme Court has even ruled on pending litigation on the issue. During that city council meeting, Mountain Water Company President John Kappas spoke out, saying that the city’s management plan was lacking.
“It did leave out some critical pieces including reasonable and just rates for Montana law, equality among customer classifications, interests and refunds on and of customer deposits, refunds of tap deposits and water disinfection standards, all while increasing the customer’s responsibility for the service line ownership and still having fines and misdemeanors,” Kappas said.
Kappas went on to contrast a municipal water system with a private water system, saying that even if it wanted to, the city could not provide customers with the same protections currently afforded under ownership by Liberty Utilities.
"The equity investment provides protection for customer’s employees and bond investors should revenues or plans not go as anticipated," Kappas said. "The same protection does not exist under city ownership with 100 percent debt financing. All the risk is placed on the bond investors, customers, employees and taxpayers if the city cant meet its financial obligations or your business plan."
The final vote of approval for the Municipal Water System plan was ten-to-one, with only City Councilwoman Michelle Cares voting against. Julie Armstrong Abstained from the vote, while Harlan Wells was absent.