On Tuesday, the Montana Public Service Commission voted 5 – 0 to deny a request by the city of Missoula to stop the transfer of management of Mountain Water company from Park Water to Liberty Utilities. Public Service Commissioner Bob Lake said that until there’s money on the table, the city of Missoula doesn’t have a say in how Mountain Water Company is managed.

"The last time the city of Missoula tried for a condemnation, it was about a five year process," Lake said. "Unless there is an actual purchase by the exchange of money, the city of Missoula does not have a right of control or influence on the management of Mountain Water Company."

Lake said the commissioners will take a close look at the transfer to Liberty Utilities in October and plan on making sure that the price paid by Liberty Utilities for Mountain Water Company doesn’t get pushed onto rate payers.

"There will be no harm to the consumer. In fact, there has to be a potential of at least a continuation of the high level service and the quality," Lake said. "The bottom line is you look at the rates and there will not be a rate increase either. Just because they spend a lot of money to buy the system has absolutely no effect on the rates for the general public."

The city of Missoula was successful in its attempts to keep the Public Service Commission out of the condemnation trial, so none of the PSC decisions to come will be directly relevant to city’s pursuit of eminent domain.


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