Cogdill visits Frog Country

December 18, 2002 11:00 pm

By SCOTT PESZNECKER and SUNNY LOCKWOOD

As the state budget crisis reached new depths, Assemblyman Dave Cogdill was in Calaveras County to assure local government officials there is light at the end of the tunnel.

In his "day on the district," Cogdill met with Calaveras County supervisors and department heads, toured the county animal shelter and visited Angels Camp in a bus with city administrators.

Cogdill, R-Modesto, became Calaveras County's representative in Sacramento because of reapportionment.

Throughout the day, officials told Cogdill how difficult it is for local government to run state-mandated programs without state money to pay for them.

Unfortunately, Cogdill said, the state is engulfed in its own financial woes.

"It's been pretty much the same thing we've been hearing everywhere," Cogdill said on the same day Gov. Gray Davis announced the state budget shortfall would actually be almost $35 billion, not $21 billion as first projected.

The announcement came one week after Davis declared California in a state of fiscal emergency, and proposed millions of dollars in mid-year cuts.

On Wednesday, Cogdill said many of those cuts will hit hardest at the county level.

"The budget problem seems to be worsening by the day," Cogdill said.

Cogdill's first stop in Calaveras County was the Calaveras Works building in San Andreas, where he addressed county supervisors and department heads.

Cogdill told people at the morning meeting that he and other assemblymen are "frustrated" about the budget crisis, and do not understand Davis' "thought process" on how to to solve the problem.

"We are in an extraordinary session," Cogdill said. "Not a lot is being done at the moment, at least on the surface."

The various department heads took turns questioning Cogdill.

County Public Works Director Bob Kawasaki said his department barely gets enough money to maintain county roads. Now, with cuts looming because of the state crisis, Kawasaki said the county has frozen all work orders until cuts are finalized.