Monday night, Youngstown City Council voted against giving extra money to the city's ambulance provider, AMR, in order to offer more reliable service.

Fire Chief Barry Finley said he wants to find a long-term solution to the problem, but if that sounds familiar, it is.

Finley and Mayor Tito Brown have said they've been working on these plans for at least four years.

Back in 2020, Youngstown Mayor Tito Brown said he was working on an in-house EMS service to supplement AMR through the fire department. This was the same week a teen was rescued from a pond near McKelvey Lake by a firefighter because no AMR ambulance was available.

In 2018, Brown said the Finley "put together a team" to establish a new plan.

Tuesday, Brown and Finley said there is still no solid plan, and said they've hit several hurdles. 

"It concerns me to make sure that we have safety and that's why the mayor and city council have to continue to find solutions," Brown said, "It's not the only issue Youngstown's faced and we're not the only city that's faced this issue. We just can't stop."

They have narrowed down two options. 

One option is to create a brand-new independent EMT crew, but it's easier said than done.

21 News found there's some history playing a role, dating back to the 90s when there were EMT services in Youngstown.

In 1991, the services shut down. When they did, Finley said there was a legally binding agreement stating if there was ever a new EMS system in the city, it needs to be under the AFSCME union.

He said in order to do this, there's a protocol. The fire union president needs to reach out to AFSCME and ask them to help facilitate the new service, something Brown and Finley claim hasn't happened because of a contentious relationship with the firefighters union.

But as of this year, there is a new fire union President, John Racco, who said he does have "frustrations" about the lack of EMS services in the city.

"For 4 years we have been ready and willing to negotiate the implementation of a pre-hospital emergency care system," Racco said, "We want to sit with the City Administration and negotiate in good faith solutions to the ongoing problems with pre-hospital advanced life support services for Youngstown's residents."

Another option could be to hire and train EMT's through the fire department to help supplement AMR.

While Finley and the Mayor said that may be the city's best option, it won't be easy.

First, it costs hundreds of thousands in training. Plus, the city needs to find ways to recruit more first responders at a time when they're already down.

"The cost of running the EMS services... the reality... I mean when we talked in 2018, we didn't realize when I moved into this office as start really digging into this and you think it's easy just to start your own," Brown said, "It's not."

Brown said they are considering using ARP funds to potentially pay for EMS costs.