We voiced our frustration in Sunday's editorial over the way Benton County commissioners have handled questions about moving the county seat.
But we were also reminded in the past week that Benton County is home to good government, despite occasional failings.
The transfer of about half of the Rattlesnake Mountain Shooting Range near West Richland into Benton County's hands is a case in point.
It took about two years to complete the 420-acre land deal with the Bureau of Land Management, but we're confident the exchange will prove worthwhile.
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The shooting public comprises a major slice of the county's population, and the needs of that constituency will be better served as a result of the land transfer.
For starters, county ownership will make it easier to obtain grants for improving and expanding the shooting facilities, Adam Fyall, the county's representative to the Benton County Park Board, told the Herald.
It's already an impressive facility. Its 10 pistol bays, multi-purpose rifle and pistol ranges, 1000-yard high-power rifle range, sporting clays course, trap fields and more make it a top site for shooters in the Northwest.
The $75,000 purchase of the 420 acres was an essential ingredient toward making it even better. A second major piece of the shooting-range deal may prove more significant, however.
In conjunction with its land purchase, the county signed a 30-year lease with the Tri-Cities Shooting Association.
The nearly 2,500-member organization has plans for about 20 projects at the range, starting with a new hunter education facility.
The project will be paid for with $25,000 from a state grant and a $10,000 donation from the club. A groundbreaking ceremony was held last week.
It's an important addition to the range. When the center is completed next year, it will play a key role in educating young people about hunting, gun use and safety.
You don't have to be a gun owner or hunter to benefit from the training. Everyone is safer as a result.
But the county's arrangement with the shooting group may do even more good as a model for other collaborative efforts with volunteer organizations.
One lesson that is emerging from the tough economic climate is that government at every level will be forced to do less as tax revenues dwindle.
Partnering with civic groups and volunteers can help fill needs that government can no longer provide.
Frankly, we're reminded of the fair association's proposal to lease the fairgrounds. The operation currently costs the county about $70,000 a year, which ought to be reason enough for the county to examine alternatives.
Full disclosure: Lori Lancaster, Benton-Franklin Fair Association manager, is a member of the Herald's editorial board.
Any potential conflict of interest aside, it's reasonable to wonder where else besides the Rattlesnake Mountain Shooting Range this sort of partnership makes sense for taxpayers.