Expensive council machine arrives

One of the most expensive pieces of equipment ever purchased by Katherine Town Council has arrived.

The expensive waste handler and compactor has arrived from the US with a $511,000 price tag.

“This replacement vehicle will allow for superior waste compaction and greater efficiencies at the waste management facility," council’s manager – compliance, regulatory and environmental services Andrew Wilson said.

The council last October agreed to pay the high price to replace its tracked waste handler at the waste management facility.

The old loader was only purchased in 2011 but has completed 8000 hours, past its expected life of 6000 hours.

Council had been told the old loader had already had several major refurbishments.

Only one response, from Hastings Deering in Darwin, was received for tender advertisements to replace the loader.

Council was initially told it could take many months for the loader to be built and shipped to Katherine from its manufacturers in the US.

The impending closure of the Katherine waste dump and the opening of a new one is expected to cost ratepayers $20 million and has been the reason behind a succession of large rate increases.

The dump has been identified as a “major priority” for Katherine over the next decade.

It is the major item in council’s long term financial plan which will need ”an estimated $20 million to close and rehabilitate the existing facility”.