“I hate to say I told you so.” Those are the words of Missoula city councilman Adam Hertz after he warned the Missoula City Council and mayor over a legal battle with Mountain Water Company.
Turns out, as The Missoulian reports, that the city is already burning through the legal fees:
This spring, Mayor John Engen estimated the city would pay $400,000 total to its own lawyers and the same for attorneys representing the water company and its owner. The city planned to spend $4.24 million in overall transaction costs – including legal fees – to condemn the water utility.
Trial is set for March 2015.
But last week, Engen said the city already has paid nearly $400,000 in legal claims. He is recalculating the projected total bill for attorneys working on the city’s behalf.
Not that anyone predicted this or anything, right? Oh wait…
KGVO’s Peter Christian: Missoula City Councilor Slams Mayor – Council For Mountain Water Cost Overruns [AUDIO]
“I don’t claim to have a crystal ball,” Hertz said. “But what I do have is this quality that seems to be lacking in a lot of our public officials, and that’s called honesty and common sense, and that’s how I knew this was going to happen from the get-go. I hate to say ‘I told you so’, because it’s not good news for the taxpayers, but I did tell them so, and nobody wanted to listen.”
Hertz said the $400,000 spent so far is just a drop in the bucket compared to what the overall actual costs may be.
“It’s going to go into the millions, and I’ve said that from the beginning,” Hertz said. “It’s abusive to the taxpayers and is bordering on malfeasance. It’s absolutely ridiculous that a city would spend this kind of money to take over a private company that historically has served its customers very well. I think there’s a lot of ego and ideology at play and I don’t think they’re going to give up. I think we’re going to end up with a bill to the taxpayers in the millions of dollars.”