The city of Victorville announced Thursday it has received a $54 million legal settlement stemming from a lawsuit over an abandoned power plant project at the Foxborough Industrial Park.

The High Desert city accepted the payment from Jacobs Engineering, formerly Carter & Burgess, on Wednesday, bringing to a conclusion a nearly decade-long debacle involving a planned cogeneration power plant at the industrial park.

Blown deadlines, project mishaps and escalating costs resulted in an impasse between the city and the engineering firm, triggering a lawsuit from Jacobs Engineering seeking to recoup costs associated with the project. The city countersued, alleging the company breached its contract.

A jury ultimately ruled in favor of the city. Jacobs Engineering appealed, but continued negotiating with the city until it agreed in November to pay the city $54 million to settle the case.

"We're glad to have it finally done, settled, and be able to move forward again," City Manager Doug Robertson said Thursday. "We were able to finally get our budget back on track this year, and certainly this will improve our financial picture significantly in the future and will give us a leg up as we start to rebuild financially."

Michelle Jones, spokeswoman for Jacobs Engineering, couldn't be reached for comment Thursday.

The $54 million payment will be used to repay debt associated with the Victorville Municipal Utility Services District (VMUS), which provides electrical service for commercial and industrial customers at the Foxborough Industrial Park and at Southern California Logistics Airport.

Thirty million dollars has already been wired to the project's trustee to reduce bonds issued for the construction of the plant, while $22 million will be used to repay interfund borrowing between the VMUS and the Victorville Water District. The remaining $2 million will go into the city's general fund.

The Grand Jury was highly critical of the city's botched power plant projects in its annual report released last year, concluding that a lack of controls allowed the city to enter into the high-risk projects that ended in failure and cost the city millions, including $13 million the city was unable to account for.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has been investigating the city's bond debt since August 2010. The investigation remains pending, but Robertson said the government regulator has ceased requesting documents.

"It certainly feels like they're getting close to the end, but they're not telling us anything," he said.

joe.nelson@inlandnewspapers.com, 909-386-3874