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Open lines of communication are crucial

Word travels fast in Menahga and sometimes even before it's published in meeting minutes or the newspapers. That's why open lines of communication are crucial.

The Menahga City Council needs to stay well informed with decisions made by the Greenwood Connections Board.

Currently, the city is facing one of its toughest decisions: A proposed Greenwood Connections building expansion project.

The nursing home portion of the facility continues to lose residents, while the assisted living side needs more room to house those on that waiting list.

When the council de-licensed 10 beds in September, talks of selling the nursing home came up during meetings as a solution to save the financial crisis the facility was facing.

Residents started writing letters to local newspapers stating their concerns about the city getting out of elderly care completely, when it was just an option to consider.

But when the Greenwood Connections Board doesn't keep citizens of Menahga up-to-date, then the public can't be blamed for making assumptions.

To clear things up, in November, the council met with the Greenwood Connections Board where three options were discussed: Selling, remodeling and expanding.

They decided to request architect proposals to expand the facility. This month, the board and the council interviewed the architects and one will be chosen in April, which means an expansion project is a go.

But between November and March, what happened to getting an appraisal? What happened to remodeling instead of expanding?

Apparently, those two options were tossed out.

During this month's council meeting, Greenwood Connections administrator Clair Erickson said those two other options were out of the picture, but Green Pine Acres Nursing Home will still undergo minor remodeling.

Councilwoman Kim Rasmussen was surprised to hear the news since it hadn't been discussed in any of the meetings for the past four months.

It's crucial for the Greenwood Connections Board to consult with the council and inform the public of these major decisions.

The board should consider regularly publishing meeting minutes on the city's Web site, in the newspapers or holding as many public hearings as needed in order to improve communication with the public. Greenwood Connections is owned by the city and serves the citizens of Menahga. Lack of communication will result in negative assumptions the city doesn't need to face while making difficult decisions that involve taxpayers' dollars.