The Petersburg Borough will be buying this used excavator from NC Machinery in Juneau. (Image from the Petersburg borough)

Petersburg’s borough assembly Monday voted to replace equipment used to bale trash and recyclables along with an excavator used for public works and utility projects.

The baler equipment will cost $535,327. Three companies submitted proposals, all under the 600,000 dollars budgeted for the project. A company called Recycle Systems of Kirkland Washington was had the lowest cost proposal.

That company will be installing a new baling machine, which crushes and compacts trash and recyclables, along with the conveyor to feed that machine.

Public works director Chris Cotta told the assembly the new machine should serve Petersburg for a while.

“I think this unit will have a minimum operating life of 20 years,” Cotta said. “And yeah it’s going to meet our needs for that time period, foreseeable needs.”

The money to pay for the new baler comes from the sanitation department’s reserves and the motor pool fund. That’s an account used to replace and maintain borough vehicles. The vote was unanimous to approve that purchase.

The motor pool fund also will pay for a replacement Caterpillar excavator for $179,250. The borough will be buying a used 2013 model.

Cotta told the assembly this machine would be used for digging and trenching, sorting rock and fixing water and sewer lines. The excavator it will replace will be used at the scrap metal pile of the landfill until it is no longer usable. Cotta thought it would take about 15,000-20,000 dollars to repair that older machine but said that would not be a good option.

“You know when you talk about repair costs on the old one versus the cost of the newer machine, you’re also buying a lot of reliability into that equation,” Cotta said. “The old machine we could sink 15-20 grand into it. We wouldn’t have something we could necessarily depend on in the middle of the night when we have a water break. So yeah, I think it’s money well spent.”

The assembly was split on this purchase but approved it on a 4-3 vote. Mayor Mark Jensen along with assembly members Kurt Wohlhueter and Taylor Norheim voted no.