Sen. Greg Ball, a Patterson Republican, announced a pair of grants for local organizations in recent weeks, including $50,000 last week for a Peekskil American Legion post and $20,000 yesterday for the Teatown Lake Reservation in Yorktown.
If you recall, Ball had presented both of those organizations with faux, oversized checks earlier this year — prematurely, it turned out. Because it had been redirected from previous groups, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the spending constituted new member-item spending (think: earmarks) and vetoed the grants (along with 121 others.)
(Member items, known as “pork,” has been derided by good-government advocates — and has been the subject of various criminal proceedings, often in influence-peddling cases. “New” pork has been excluded from the last three state budgets.)
Ball, at the time of the veto in April, vowed that the vetoed grants would be taken care of.
For the two groups that received oversized checks, it has been taken care of, according to Ball’s office. Both the Peekskill American Legion and the Teatown Lake Reservation will receive grants from separate discretionary pots of state money. The American Legion post actually ended up receiving more than the $18,000 it was initially promised.
Ball said he’s still working on a way to restore funds to other groups that saw their pork vetoed. He had redirected other Leibell pork grants (which were subsequently vetoed) to the Brewster Little League, the American Legion Argonne Post 71 in Putnam County, and the Northern Westchester and Putnam County chapter of Disabled American Veterans.
“We pay some of the highest taxes and spend some of the most tax dollars from our districts through Albany, and I’m going to fight like hell to get as much of that back, especially the old dollars that were appropriated in previous budgets,” Ball said today.