We’ve been hopeful before only to have those hopes dashed, but an arbitrator’s ruling denying the village of North Riverside an opportunity to present its case for terminating its contract with union firefighters separate from final-offer arbitration looks to have done the trick.

The village appears, once and for all, to be giving up its attempt to privatize the fire department and is headed back to the negotiating table next week. The intent, said Mayor Hubert Hermanek Jr., is to hammer out of multi-year deal that will also provide some much-needed breathing space before future contract negotiations begin anew.

It’s about time, but if that’s what the result will be, it’s the best everyone can hope for.