A group of concerned residents in Youngstown, known as Youngstown Neighborhood Leaders, began a series of town hall meetings Wednesday night to "gain a better understanding of the situation, discuss if there are other options available and discuss why current response times are longer than acceptable."

One of them, Janet Tarpley, said "we've got an older population...and you never know when you're going to have to call the ambulance."

Shortly before that first meeting, 21 News learned that the city has re-entered negotiations with AMR, the city's longtime ambulance provider. The two sides had been locked for months in a dispute over a subsidy to allow AMR to continue to operate. The company asked for $750,000, but the city refused.

City law director Jeff Limbian told 21 News that "one way or another, there will be an agreement in place before the end of the year". The city's current agreement with AMR is set to expire December 31.

But Tarpley and others say extending the agreement is shortsighted. They want the city to establish its own ambulance service.

"I think they may have the talent on the fire department already to do it," Tarpley said. 

Jon Racco, president of Youngstown Professional Firefighters Local 312 said at Wednesday's town hall "a lot of the startup costs for EMS could be handled with these (federal) ARP funds that we have", referring to the more than $80 million the city got from Washington.

Limbian told 21 News the union has been "playing games" and has "not negotiated with honesty and sincerity and clarity". Racco says that's just not true.

In the meantime, two more town halls are set for November 9 and November 30.