"It's an embarrassment," said City Council member Paul Anderson of the city's hearse. Motor pool personnel have had to respond at several funerals to get the hearse running, he added.
Speaking for the motor pool advisory committee, Anderson informed the council that the city needed to purchase a Suburban type vehicle to replace the existing hearse for an amount not to exceed $20,000.
Anderson said the motor pool is seeking to purchase a 1995 vehicle that is available in town for $17,000 or less, "well under blue book price." A $3,000 accessory kit will be installed in the back of the vehicle to allow loading and unloading of caskets.
Anderson said, "Many other communities are using this type of vehicle for hearses."
Public works Superintendent Karl Hagerman told the Council the city has first option to purchase the vehicle, but they have to act quickly or forfeit the vehicle to another party.
The City Council approved the purchase by resolution at a special meeting held Feb. 20. Council member Dave Carlson chuckled as he told the Pilot, "The council had to act quickly on this issue because it was a matter of life or death."
The city had to operate a hearse when the private company providing funeral services for Petersburg cut back, forcing both the hospital and the city to provide some of the services.