Fix Roads, not build a bigger town hall

How many residents even know about this? How many would use it while the rest. of us pay for it?

1/10/20242 min read

West Lakeland received about $451.7k from the American Rescue Plan (ARP). The town hall, built as a church about 1981 needs some work to become ADA compliant, update the HVAC systems, and improve security systems. Technology for hybrid meeting would be useful. What might that cost? $100k? $150k? Our board wants to spend the rest of the $451k, and perhaps more, on additions to add office and storage space and make the town hall useable for events including banquets. $15-20k has been spent so far, mostly for architectural services.

How does a town board go from no town hall for 70 years, bragging about how little they spend, from boasting about changing light bulbs and toilet flappers to save money, to drawings for a million dollar town hall? They started out discussing ADA upgrades then piled on for more office space, storage, and a kitchen.

Then belittle several hundred thousand dollars in federal ARP (American Rescue Plan) ($451k) money as they say it would only resurface a 1/3 of a mile of road? That money could have more than paid for all of this year’s crack sealing, spray patching, mowing, and tree removal. If the board can be so spendthrift with a few thousand dollars, what will happen with millions?

The board keeps the ARP money in a fund they call “off budget”. Why off budget? Do they not want the townspeople to know?

Dan Kyllo has called it “free money”. It is not. It is federal taxpayer funds. That money could just as well go toward fixing roads or other town maintenance projects.

Find the WL 2025 proposed budget here: (No ARP fund or money or expenditures shown in the budget)

The first round of bidding on the first design brought in 2 responses for $691,700 and $607,420 out of 8 contractors invited to bid.

The board rejected those bids at the July board meeting since they exceeded ARP money available, then passed a motion by a vote of 2:1 (Buelow the no vote) to go back to create a new plan for bids.

Back to the drawing board for a second design plan with only one addition instead of two but still insisting on a kitchen/break room for a town hall where no one works and is only open by appointment. They say they need storage space for “election equipment” but that is misleading as the only “equipment” that is stored in a shed now are the portable collapsible voting kiosks that have always been stored outside. The county maintains and stores all electronic voting equipment. The so far proposed expansion will not add any additional space to the main hall.


What residents were told before the town hall purchase:

Nov 09 2020 WL board mtg minutes, approved:

“ ….The building has office, storage space and meeting space. “

“… There is no intent to expand the township’s activity in terms of services or staff at this time. “

Special town meeting Dec 1, 2020:

“… The property would allow for township meetings, office space and storage space for Township records. ….”


Final Rule: The U.S. Department of the Treasury released the final rule for the American Rescue Plan funds. Of note, the final rule includes a simplified lost revenue provision that gives each local government a $10 million standard allowance for lost revenues. This means that the first $10 million of your ARP dollars (not to exceed your award amount) can be spent on nearly anything that would normally be spent from your general funds, including roads and bridges.