Gilbert Fire & Rescue Department will host a virtual open house at 5 p.m. Aug. 13 to discuss the possibility of the town expanding its ambulance line of service.

The open house will include Town Manager Patrick Banger, Fire Chief Jim Jobusch and Ambulance Service Manager Tiffany Fields.

The public is invited to ask questions before or during the open house, which will be held through Microsoft Teams.

The town also is conducting a survey to gather feedback on the proposed expansion.

Gilbert began offering ambulance service in November out of Fire Station No. 3. Since then, town staff told council they have grown more concerned about protecting the line of service as well as difficulties in negotiations with American Medical Rescue, which provides most of the ambulance service in town.

Money was set aside in the fiscal year 2020-21 budget to potentially expand the town’s ambulance service, but the item drew sharp criticism from Council Members Aimee Yentes and Jared Taylor for the town competing against private enterprise.

Vice Mayor Scott Anderson also expressed concern about the transparency and the lack of opportunity for the public to be involved in discussions about expanding town ambulance service. The item was brought to council for presentation on the same night as preliminary approval of the budget.

In response, staff promised council opportunities for public input, leading to the open house and survey.