The Benewah County Commissioners agreed to spend up to $2,000 on various maintenance projects at the St. Maries senior meal site. The commissioners made the decision Monday after hearing from Mary Burton, a member of the group.

“We need to bring the area up to fire and health codes and fix the bathrooms,” Ms. Burton said.

Ms. Burton said seniors had done a lot of work at the meal site but there were some projects beyond their capability.

“We’ve done a lot of cleaning and maintenance, but there are some things we can’t do. We are just old and not up to it.”

Benewah County owns the Leuty Building, which houses the meal site. The meal site is located in the basement of the two-story building. The extension office recently moved to the top floor.

In other business, Rep. Bill Goesling met with the commissioners and asked if there were issues or concerns that he could help with.

Commissioner Phil Lampert said the land purchases by the Department of Lands in Benewah County continue to be a concern. When the agency buys the land it takes it off the tax rolls. He said the county cannot make-up for the lost revenue.

The added revenue the state gains from timber sales benefits high-population areas more than rural counties, Mr. Lampert said.

“That needs to be straightened out sooner rather than later,” he said. “It’s not fair and we have no recourse.”

Commissioner Bob Short said the state is currently considering buying acreage in the Emida area. Not only has the timber been cut, meaning that the state would not see any returns for many years, but if the purchase is completed, that property would expand the amount of tax-exempt property in the county, Mr. Short said.

Commissioner Jack Buell, citing the purchase of the Black Rock ranch in the Coeur d’Alene River drainage near Black Lake, said the Fish & Game also needs oversight.

“That is another agency that is completely out of control,” he said.

He also questioned the lack of maintenance of local highways. He cited broken asphalt on the edge of roads, which leave large tire-destroying chuckholes.

Mr. Buell was also critical of plans to close the unemployment office in St. Maries.

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