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Can anyone tell me about these areas? Dh is job hunting and either of these came up as possibilities.

I'm particularly looking at these things, but anything would help!

1. Crime issues?
2. Cost of living-can you find a good 3+ bedroom house in a good part of town/country with decent yard for under $100k?
3. Is it birth and breastfeeding friendly? I may someday in the distant future want a #5. Homebirth midwives around?
4. Homeschool friendly?
5. Kids activities. Close proximity or possibility of Museums, kids programs, homeschool groups...
6. A UU, Liberal Episcopal, Reform Judaism, or pagan group nearby?
7. How bad are the fire ants?
8. I hear insurance rates are just astronomical. How bad are we talking?
 

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Marianna is the only place out of the three where you're going to find a house for under $100k. The drawback is that it's fairly rural and you'll have to drive at least 30 minutes to find anything worth doing. If you find a house in Tampa for 100K or less, it's going to be in a bad neighborhood, but you can find homes for that and less on the outskirts in rural Hillsborough or Pasco county (just to the north of Tampa).

Tampa's crime rate is pretty bad.

You'll find "cultural" activities in Tampa and Sarasota, but also the snobby attitude that comes with that territory (i.e. Crunchier than thou), particularly down in Sarasota... unless you have a yacht, trust fund, *and* a Prius, lol!

I think termites are more of a big deal than fire ants.

I pay about $3000 a year for house insurance and I live in Hillsborough County (a small town East of Tampa).

From what I hear from friends, all of Florida is pretty homeschool friendly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
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Originally Posted by FloridaBorn View Post
Oh did you mean house or health insurance?
Well, both, really. Here at dh's job (which he's losing in May) it's over $1600 a month for health insurance, so we're on medicaid. Hopefully we can get good health insurance through one of the places dh is applying!

But house insurance is another important one. I think it's like $500 here in Illinois for ours...are taxes really high, too?
 

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I don't think health insurance will be any cheaper here in Florida. We have some kind of "healthy kids" program for folks who make too much to be on medicaid, but don't earn enough to afford health insurance. Of course it's a PITA to get enrolled in and not a lot of doctors take it.

Hurricanes, sinkholes, floods... hence the high property insurance.

Prices for monthly electric and water are going to vary from place to place, but where I live it's about $125/month for lights, and $65/month for water.

My property taxes were a little over $500 this year. I've had my place for 9 years. Now my mom lives the next street over, she's been in her place 20 years and her property taxes were about $100.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
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Originally Posted by FloridaBorn View Post
I don't think health insurance will be any cheaper here in Florida. We have some kind of "healthy kids" program for folks who make too much to be on medicaid, but don't earn enough to afford health insurance. Of course it's a PITA to get enrolled in and not a lot of doctors take it.

Hurricanes, sinkholes, floods... hence the high property insurance.

Prices for monthly electric and water are going to vary from place to place, but where I live it's about $125/month for lights, and $65/month for water.

My property taxes were a little over $500 this year. I've had my place for 9 years. Now my mom lives the next street over, she's been in her place 20 years and her property taxes were about $100.
That's not bad at all. Not the sinkhole, hurricane, and flood part, at least. We lived in NC with some of those same issues. Taxes don't sound bad, though, and the electric/water is about what we pay now. And our "healthy kids" program is pretty much the same-most people won't accept it.

Thanks!
 

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We're in Sarasota - no yacht, trust fund, or Prius in sight
There is a good community of MDC moms here, a conscious parenting yahoo group, plus a chapter of the Holistic Moms Network. We go to playdates at least twice a week at local venues and enjoy seeing all the crunchy families! There are a ton of things to do with kids: beaches, parks, museums, botanical gardens, etc. Some are free and others have yearly memberships that pay off pretty quickly (especially for a large family). There are two birthing centers and at least four homebirth midwives. I've had no problems NIP with my 22 month old DD, so, at least in my experience, it is BF friendly
There are homeschool groups in the area, although the better organized ones are religious (generally conservative Christian) in nature.
The surrounding areas of Bradenton or Venice would be a better bet for a house under 100K, neither town is very far from the center of Sarasota. For a decent neighborhood with that criteria in Sarasota, you'd be looking closer to 150K unless you jump on a foreclosure.
Let's see, what else? There's a weekly farmer's market, a great organic farm, at least three CSAs, and a Whole Foods. Weekends generally offer outdoor art fairs or music stuff when weather is good. There's a UU church or two in the area. All in all, it's not a bad place to be
 

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FL native here, born St. Pete, near Tampa. Of the three choices, I would choose Sarasota hands down. Cleaner and safer than Tampa and Tampa isn't actually that far if you want to go Busch Gardens or other museums/aquariums.

DD is climbing on me, gotta go..
 
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