It appears the Sedona Fire District Governing Board and staff are moving toward middle ground.

The approval of the fiscal year 2011-12 budget indicates the board is keeping its promise of fiscal responsibility while not completely ignoring recommendations from the professionals.

Three Governing Board members — Chairman Dave Blauert, Craig Dible and Ty Montgomery — voted to approve an $11,291,468 operating budget, which is approximately $1 million less than the fiscal year 2010-11 general fund.

The compromise came when Blauert, Dible and Montgomery voted to also approve $1,528,200 in contingency funds to be managed by the board itself.

When proposed cuts of up to $2.5 million were thrown out as “possibilities” during budget talks leading up to April 27 meeting, some staff and community members began to panic. Fingers were pointed and tempers flared.

Fiscal responsibility is extremely important as our economy recovers, and the current board ran on a platform of cutting costs and saving taxpayers as much money as possible, but without drastically crippling services.

Blauert, Dible and Montgomery recognized cutting costs takes time and evaluation rather than one swift chop if they’re going to be done effectively and efficiently and without causing a war between the board and staff.

By setting up a contingency fund controlled by the board rather than staff, the board upholds its promise to its constituents to stay on top of finances. However, it gives staff wiggle room as it learns to operate on a smaller budget.

For SFD to be successful and provide the service residents need, cooperation between the board and staff is essential. In-fighting quickly makes a difficult situation worse.

To work together, flexibility is necessary, which isn’t always easy.

The April 27 vote proves people from both sides decided to come to the table for the good of the entire community. Let’s hope civility and collaboration continues from the majority of those involved.