Mayor Engen's Initiatives
Water Utility Acquisition
In his third term, Mayor John Engen worked diligently to ensure the security of the citizens of Missoula's water supply and distribution system. In doing so, he and his leadership team pursued ownership of the privately held Mountain Water Company. When the company's international owners declined the City's offers of purchase, the acquisition attempt became the subject of a court case. On behalf of the citizens of Missoula, Mayor Engen and the City of Missoula completed the purchase of the utility that supplies and distributes Missoula's water. On June 22, 2017 in Judge Karen Townsend's District Court courtroom, the former Mountain Water Company became Missoula Water.
Eminent Domain Trial
On June 15, 2015, District Court Judge Karen Townsend issued the findings of fact (PDF), conclusions of law, and preliminary order of condemnation. The trial began on March 18 and concluded on April 6.
All videos from the trial are available for viewing on our website. You will need to click on the "Legislation" button in the upper left, then type "Mountain Water trial" in the filter box. This page is in still in testing, so you may need to be patient as the content loads.
Valuation Court Proceedings
Valuation proceedings began on November 2, 2015, in front of a three-member commission that was charged with setting the value of the company. The water commission members agreed unanimously on a value of $88.6 million on November 17.
All videos from the valuation are available for viewing on our website. You will need to click on the "Legislation" button in the upper left, then type "Mountain Water trial" in the search box. This page is in still in testing, so you may need to be patient as the content loads.
Supreme Court Hearing
The Montana Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the City of Missoula v. Mountain Water Company and Carlyle Infrastructure Partners at the University of Montana on April 22, 2016. The Supreme Court limited the oral argument to whether the Fourth Judicial District Court, through Judge Karen Townsend, correctly applied the state law governing condemnation when it ruled that municipal ownership of the water system is a "more necessary public use" than private ownership and granted a preliminary order of condemnation. April 22, 2016
Water Utility Status Update and Summary
Community Quality of Life Initiative Information
The City of Missoula, The University of Montana and the Associated Students of The University of Montana agree to work collaboratively on issues affecting the quality of life in our community and signed a pledge to do so on Dec. 10, 2012. The work will concentrate in four areas: increasing the inventory of quality, affordable housing for students; improving existing rental stock through basic regulation of residential rental property; improving neighborhoods across the city through a well-staffed quality-of-life program; and improving transportation and parking options for all citizens.
Reaching Home: Missoula's 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness
Commissioned by Mayor John Engen and Missoula County Commissioner Jean Curtiss, Missoula's plan lays down clear solutions to homelessness. The completed draft launched October 23, 2012, is up for public comment through November 14, when a public meeting and open house will be held.
Homeless Needs Assessment Initiative
|February 22, 2011
|Missoula panel on homelessness says more respite beds needed
|February 19, 2011
|Billings finds creating plan to impact homelessness a challenge, but possible
|February 12, 2011
|Families make up most homeless in Missoula area; agencies work for solutions
|February 3, 2011
|Study examines Missoula homeless; Engen hopes to build prevention strategy
Missoula: Best Place Project
Missoula has a high quality of place and a healthy appetite for economic development. The time is right for a concerted, robust, new approach to economic development that shows that Missoula is the best place in the Western United States to do business, consultants reported May 11 in Missoula.
Mayor John Engen and his Best Place Project team hired Garner Economics and National Community Development Services, Inc. to analyze Missoula's economic climate and gauge its leaders' interest in a strong public-private partnership that recruits businesses, retains existing businesses, and redevelops facilities and infrastructure that supports businesses in Missoula.
"This is all about building wealth and prosperity in our community," Mayor Engen said. "And this is about bringing us together. The only way we will be successful is if we work together."
- Visit the Best Place Project webpage
- View the Best Place Project brochure (PDF)
- Best Place Project Moves Ahead: view the February 8, 2011 press release (PDF)
- Garner Economics Presentation (PDF)
- NCDS Presentation (PDF)
- Garner Economics Report (PDF)
- NCDS Report (PDF)
- Mayor's Debut of the Best Place Project (PDF), February 2, 2010
Working Together: A Best Practices Approach to Improving the City of Missoula's Development Review System
In July 2010, Mayor John Engen commissioned a study to look thoughtfully at the effectiveness and efficiency of the City of Missoula's development review system and to recommend improvements. Mayor Engen and Chief Administrative Officer Bruce Bender hired Dennis Taylor, a former city manager with long experience in public administration in Montana. Mayor Engen also asked Taylor to recommend the steps necessary to form a "one-stop" customer service model for permitting and licensing for the City.
Next steps: Mayor Engen will work with the Missoula County commissioners, City and County chief administrative officers, key staff members, and the community to look at the recommendations and decide on the most practical and helpful course of action.