YUBA COUNTY (CBS13) – The state of California owes a total of $17 million to several counties for using county land to save wildlife.

“What used to be a little bit of money is now a lot of money, just because we’ve waited so long,” said Yuba County spokesman Russ Brown.

The state of California owes Yuba County more than $700,000.

“That’s a lot of money for a small county,” said Brown.

The state reimburses counties for property taxes on land it converted into wildlife refuges. Yuba County has not seen any money since 2002.

“It goes to our general fund, which is the thing that takes care of roads and other projects around here that are important to people who live here,” said Brown.

County spokesman Russ Brown says many projects have had to be set aside and their roads are suffering.

“We’ve done things to keep the roads maintained as much as we can but even then we are still falling behind,” said Brown.

The state Department of Finance spokesperson says the state cut the funding to close the budget gap. Even though the budget is balanced, it’s too soon to tell if there will be any left over to pay the counties back.

“It makes it hard for these counties to trust their state down the road for their projects,” said Assemblyman Dan Logue, 3rd District.

And the longer it takes, the more the state will owe

“The state has to keep its word and its obligations like any other citizen has to do,” said Logue.

Until then, the counties will continue to suffer.

Logue sent a letter to the governor asking him to make the California Department of Fish and Wildlife pay their debts as soon as possible.

The state also owes money to several other counties in our area including more than $1.4 million to Yolo County, nearly $600,000 to Solano County, more than $247,000 to Sutter County, more than 11,000 to Stanislaus County and $200 to Placer County.



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