Missoula Water panel meets with public to answer questions

Residents attended a public forum to learn about the state of the Missoula Water Utility.

Leaders from Missoula City Council along with the superintendent of Missoula Water answered questions in a forum put on by the League of Women Voters Tuesday evening.

The four-person panel included Mayor John Engen, Chief Administrative Officer Dale Bickell, Missoula Water superintendent Dennis Bowman and Ward 1 Councilman Bryan von Lossberg.

Missoula resident Abdul Majeed Kadri said it was a great meeting for those who attended.

“I found the information to be informative, and I detected quite a bit of transparency,” said Kadri.

Bickell addressed the city’s loans taken out to pay for the $88 million utility. He also talked about the legal fees, with a total cost exceeding $130 million.

Bowman said they are doing everything they can to not have rates increase for the next five years.

“They know how much money is coming in, and they are managing to make sure we are taking care of everything. We have good fire protection, it’s dependable, we have backup power, and every time a customer turns on the faucet they have water,” said Bowman.

Missoula Water customer rates are equal to what they were in 2011, but it’s still one of the highest municipal water rates in the state.

Bowman hopes to implement a quarterly newsletter to let the customers know how their water system is doing.

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