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Sarasota, Florida SperlingViews



"Please do not make the mistake my parents did."


Please do not make the mistake my parents did. - 5/2/2009
17 1
Kristen
Sarasota, FL

I have lived here in Sarasota since I was 4. The entire state of Florida is built upon tourism (theme parks, beaches, etc.) so there is hardly anything left over for the people who actually LIVE here year round. Sarasota is very seasonal. The summers are extremely hot and humid. Winter is nice but it's hard to enjoy when all the snowbirds come down and mob the place. From October till about April is the heaviest tourist season. All the businesses will begin hiring and the traffic will be horrible (congested with old people who come down for the winter and go back north for the summer). The school system is horrible. Every year there are more and more budget cuts (again this is a TOURIST state. I would never, EVER suggest raising a child here, under any circumstance.) All of the people who I grew up with have moved away or plan on moving away as soon as possible (I'm moving to Seattle this summer.) I've seen teachers drink alcohol in classrooms. With a state so focused on tourism, why would they even bother spending money on the school system. (Note that this state is 49th in the nation for education.)

As far as crime goes, my mother is a probation officer and there is a lot that goes on the that media just does not cover. It is NOT as safe as everyone makes it out to be, but Sarasota is supposedly this picturesque community and the city does not want it to be tarnished. At some of the most prestigious high schools in the county are reported rape cases, HUNDREDS of drug offenses. While I was attending riverview (only one year because I could not stand it) there was a physical altercation at LEAST once a day. There are murder cases, rape cases, robberies, etc that are not covered by the media here.

If you are 50+ there are plenty things to do in this community. It is tailored to the rich and elderly. For someone my age (early 20s), it is REALLY lacking. I've heard of a lot of high school kids dying of drug overdoses. With nothing else to do you really can't blame them. And drive down MLK and you can get anything you could imagine (as far as the drug market goes.)

The people in Sarasota are rude elitists. I've been working in customer service since I was in high school (now in college) and I am continually shocked every day with just how vicious people can be.

My parents are now in their mid to late 50's and share the same feelings as I do about the city. The summers are unbearable, and the winters just don't make up for it. The people here are ill tempered maniacs who think that since they live here they own the world.


Please heed my warning. If you are elderly and would like to retire here, this place is probably what you're looking for, if you can tolerate the heat and humidity in the summer and the major tourism in the winter.

If you are young and/or raising a family DO NOT MOVE HERE. For the sake of yourself and/or child. Move to a state with a better school system and better opportunities.

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Abhd

re: Please do not make the mistake my parents did. - 10/10/2010
This person's view is definitely extreme. Regarding education, Florida is not 49th in quality; it's 49th in spending. Florida is not like other states. They are good with their money;required to have a balanced budget.


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Abhd

re: Please do not make the mistake my parents did. - 7/31/2010
word for word kristen's apiction of Sarasota is ABSOLUTLY TRUE. anyone that would disagree more than likely has way too much money, a liberal jack-a or too old to see the obvoius of day to day living here. the cost of living is expesive. if you happen to move here be prepaired to see at least 4 or 5 bentleys on a regular basis. people have money here and are the most high and mighty people on earth, so they think. I have traveled many many places and this is the worst... this is my opinion as a native. keep it real


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More Sarasota, Florida SperlingViews

Juli
McMinnville, OR

Sarasota, Florida relocation - 10/27/2014

I want to move to Sarasota, FL within a year. I am researching the city on all categories. My income is low, $24,000/yr., 67 year old woman, single and very healthy. Love art, beaches, exercise and social activities. Want rent and to live in a one or two bedroom apt.

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Greg
Sarasota, FL

Sarasota has changed so much in the last 2 years a - 9/10/2013

I moved to Sarasota from Rhode Island seven years ago and thought I would never leave. The weather, beaches and restaurants are top notch. It all changed two years ago when Siesta Key beach was named #1 and the Reds left and the Orioles came to town for spring training. Having spent the my first 40 years in the northeast I couldn't believe the difference in cultures and attitudes in a city mainly populated by mid-westerner's. They are calm, polite, humble and never in a hurry. Now the northeasterner's have found Sarasota and it will never be the same. Someone is always tailgating me now or weaving in and out of traffic to get one spot ahead. People no longer greet you with a hello or good morning anymore, I feel like I'm back up north again. When I first arrived I could get on the beaches any time of year, I can't even find a spot in August now. My favorite restaurants have lines out the door in September, unheard of before. There is no more off season now, just like Orlando it is all year long. This used to be a very, very friendly town, no longer. The cost of housing if you can find any is unattainable for a working family. It is time to go, I'll miss the old Sarasota very much.

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Polypureheart

Noisiest Place I Have Ever Lived! - 7/25/2013

The noise level here is at least 10 times that of a large city. Some days I am literally in tears from it. Car horns, dogs, loud engines, machinery, trucks, planes- it's unbelievable. I am out ASAP! I slept better in New Orleans! Also, the Whole Foods here is inundated with homeless people and everything is at least $1 to $4 more than in Orlando. Don't move here, don't let the Siesta Beach fool you- it is not accessible at all in the Summer. In the Winter the snowbirds come back and the traffic is a nightmare. There are homeless camps all over the city and in one of them a 5 year old child was raped. I don't go anywhere without my husband. People are randomly shot for no reason if they accidentally wander into the wrong neighborhood. And the city is knowingly breaking Florida State Law by banning cigarette smoking in OUTDOOR public places- it's ludicrous! But the biggest factor is the noise- it's a Migraine City- and I'm not old, I'm 40! Don't move here is less you want to listen to headphones all the time and sleep with earplugs in.

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Sam
Sarasota, FL

Nice weather but often hostile environment - 7/21/2013

The Sarasota-Bradenton area might be right for you if you’re from the Northeast. I’m from the Midwest and I’ve lived here two years. Except for Latinos, the vast majority of the population is from New York, Massachusetts, Ohio, Michigan, or some other northeastern state. Considering Florida is geographically part of the South, the demographics are here are nothing but weird. My experience has been that people here are often rude and antisocial, although you will hear the word “socialize” a lot for some reason. I have a foreign language degree, and I have been to nearly a dozen different countries. People in Sarasota are definitely not nice. There are many ex-military people here, or recent veterans and military retirees. Many of them have no concept of civilian law and therefore no qualms about breaking it. So don’t be surprised if you meet with massive privacy invasion, slander, or even stalking by former soldiers and sailors. All this should come as no surprise considering that the military has a history of prisoner torture and a current epidemic of crimes against women in the military. This is obviously condoned or even encouraged. Florida has a high crime rate compared to other states. Healthcare is mediocre at best. There is only one major hospital. Doctors and other healthcare people can be surprisingly rude for no reason at all.

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Sam
Sarasota, FL

Only thing I like about it is the weather - 7/14/2013

Sarasota might be right for you if you’re from the Northeast. I’m from the Midwest and I’ve lived here two years. Except for Latinos, the vast majority of the population is from New York, Massachusetts, Ohio, Michigan, etc. There’s only a handful of Florida natives and people from the rest of the country. Fact is, the demographics of Florida are just plain weird. My experience is that people here are often rude and antisocial, although you will hear the word “socialize” a lot for some reason. There are a large number of ex-military people here, or recent veterans and military retirees. Perhaps a result of being in the military so long, many of them have no concept of civilian law and therefore no qualms about breaking it. So don’t be surprised if you meet with massive privacy invasion, slander, or even stalking by former soldiers and sailors (mostly the latter). All this should come as no surprise considering that the military has a history of prisoner torture and a current epidemic of crimes against women within the military. This is obviously condoned or even encouraged. So a little privacy invasion or slander never hurt anybody, right? Florida has a high crime rate compared to other states. Healthcare is mediocre at best. There is only one major hospital. Doctors and other healthcare people can be surprisingly rude for no reason at all. My advice? Go elsewhere.

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Sam
Sarasota, FL

Only thing I like about it is the weather - 7/14/2013

The Sarasota-Bradenton area might be right for you if you’re from the Northeast. I’m from the Midwest and I’ve lived here two years. Except for Latinos, the vast majority of the population is from New York, Massachusetts, Ohio, Michigan, etc. There’s only a handful of Florida natives and people from the rest of the country. Fact is, the demographics of Florida are just plain weird. My experience is that people here are often rude and antisocial, even though you'll hear the word “socialize” a lot for some reason. There are a large number of ex-military people, or recent veterans and military retirees. Perhaps a result of being in the military so long, many of them have no concept of civilian law and therefore no qualms about breaking it. So don’t be surprised if you meet with massive privacy invasion, slander, or even stalking by former soldiers and sailors. All this should come as no surprise considering that the military has a history of prisoner torture and a current epidemic of crimes against women in the military. This is obviously condoned or even encouraged. So a little privacy invasion or slander never hurt anybody, right? Florida has a high crime rate compared to other states. Healthcare is mediocre at best. There is only one major hospital. Doctors and other healthcare people can be surprisingly rude for no reason at all. My advice? Go elsewhere.

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Pam
Sarasota, FL

Life in Sarasota - 9/16/2012

I was born in Sarasota 50 years ago and have lived here all but 8 years of my life. A lot has changed in this town since then. The weather has always been hot/humid, but it's even hotter now due to climate change. If you don't mind being sticky and sweaty for 7-8 months of the year, then it probably won't bother you; November-March (about 4-5 months of the year) is dryer and cooler, a time when you can actually open the windows and enjoy the weather. Over the years, Sarasota has become quite built up and there is hardly an area of the county left anymore (except way out in east county) that has not been developed by a developer. The friendly small-town atmosphere is gone and Sarasota seems to now be a magnet for the pretentious and materialistic. Longboat Key, one of the barrier islands off of Sarasota (which has nice beaches) is full of that type. The newer neighborhoods in Sarasota are run by Homeowner's Associations, and as another poster said, they can make your life miserable. Most of the newer neighborhoods have these, so unless you buy an older home, you will probably be moving into a neighborhood with one. Be prepared to hand over approx. $500-$2000/year in HOA fees, face the prospect of "assessments," and be prepared to contend with the retired HOA board members, who have nothing better to do all day than drive around in their golf carts or walk up and down the sidewalk inspecting your yard and sending notices or threats to sue and take over your property if you don't pull the weeds from the sidewalk cracks or trim your palm trees in 2 weeks. I wouldn't suggest anyone moving into a neighborhood with a HOA if, for any reason, you don't have lots of time and the ability to devote to yardwork, unless you can/intend to pay a yard service to maintain your yard full-time (and things grow like a jungle in Florida). I also wouldn't suggest living in one if you live green/are environmentally conscientious, as HOAs aren't known for having a regard for the environment, and people in these kinds of neighborhoods spray every pesticide and herbicide known to man, as well as use inorganic fertilizers on their lawns (hence, the Red Tide outbreaks that have been going on for decades in the Gulf which cause lung irritation, headaches, etc.), and they expect you to do the same. I don't think the cost of living is higher here (according to the above data on this site, it's actually slighly below the national average), but it's true the blue collar jobs don't pay well here as compared to up North, and when the housing market crashed, many in the construction industy lost their jobs, and house values (but rents as well) went way down, with a 2-bedroom, one-bath apartment/older condo costing about $600-$700/month. So, a good time to buy for those who still want to live here. The beaches here are very crowded on the weekends, especially Siesta, but I have walked the beaches in the early mornings/early evenings/weekdays, even in tourist season, and they are not crowded then. The beaches have very white, fine sand (especially Siesta) and a relatively mild surf (compared to the East Coast). Contrary to what other posters said, Sarasota has a very high crime rate. Per capita, it has a higher murder rate than Los Angeles. Also, Florida comes in at #1 w/r/t identity theft and Rx drug overdoses/deaths in the nation, and Sarasota has a tremendous drug problem as well. Just about every couple weeks a bank is robbed. Sarasota is a town of haves and have-nots and a town with a serious substance abuse problem--possibly contributing to all the property crimes. Numerous members of my extended family here have been victims of everything from white collar crime (embezzlement by an employee), sexual assault, to having hundreds of dollars of fishing gear stolen out of the back of a pickup truck while running into the public library for literally 5 minutesto return some movies. Somebody said the schools here weren't good. Of course there are many, and they're all different, but overall Sarasota has a better public school system than the rest of Florida, and used to be one of the best in the country, though don't know how it compares now. As others said, there is the symphony, the opera, the ballet, Asolo Theatre, Mote Marine Laboratory(all of which cost quite a bit of money, especially if one goes regularly), lots of water sports, the Sarasota Film Festival (annual, I think), Ringling Museum of Art, the circus museum, the beaches, many, many restaurants, some state and county parks, but there just isn't the natural beauty that the rest of the country has to offer (especially the West) and there isn't the closeness among neighbors (unless you happen to get lucky) that there used to be. Politically, it's about 50% Republican/50% Democrat--probably slightly more Republican, and very few progressives. If I ever have the money to quit my job and move elsewhere, I intend to, but clearly there are people who think Sarasota is "Paradise" and is exactly what they are looking for, as the population is still growing.

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Katherine
Bradenton, FL

Ok place if you are wealthy - 8/25/2012

If you are not wealthy, be prepared to live in a not so great neighborhood. Most people who move here already have plenty of money. If not, forget about making a decent living unless you are a doctor, lawyer or "developer". Sarasota is full of opinionated, self-entitled, self-centered people who believe what they think is what everyone should think. It is super-conservative, so if you are liberal, be prepared to never air your opinions in public. Employment opportunities are not good, and salaries are really bad--half of what they are in the north, but cost of living is not half. It costs the same amount to dine out, buy groceries, or do anything else. Not that there is a lot to do. The town closes at 10 p.m. There is a faux art crowd here and a faux society crowd who smugly believe Sarasota is just he epitome of "arts" and "sophistication". It isn't--they just have not lived anywhere that has actual cultural activities. Money rules, and if you have it or at least pretend to have it, the Sarasota crowd will be impressed. Con men do very well here. Almost everyone here is from small town midwest with a provincial conservative mind set. The drivers are the worst. Aside from the over-80 drivers and tourists who make driving torture, local drivers are the rudest--no signal indicators are used ever, they talk on the phone and text, they are distracted, cut people off (and then drive super-slow), they think nothing of crossing three lanes of heavy traffic to make a turn, and they do not understand that the left lane is for passing. Did I mention racism and gun worship? For all of Sarasota's fake sophistication, this is the most segregated place I have ever seen outside of the deep south. As for the "great" beaches. You want to go to the beach? Well be prepared to sit in traffic for hours and drive around for more hours looking for a parking space. Siesta Key used to be nice, but is now dirty and overrun with people who trash it up, fight, drink, etc. Am looking forward to leaving.

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Michael
North Port, FL

Can't Wait To Leave!!!! - 7/17/2012

If your thinking about moving here, think twice, I wish we did. First of Florida is a Right to Work state. Yes no unions, but also they can fire you at will for whatever they feel like. My wife is a nurse and had a good secure job in CT before we came here. She got a job right away in FL but has seen good co-workers get fired for no reason. If your late twice, no matter what, fired. Traffic, accident, illness, doesn't matter. I also took a cut in pay to come to "paradise",as well as being deceived. Oh, forget to mention, that happens all the time here. I am a HVAC Technician and was offered $25/hr. Not bad, but less than I made in Connecticut. But see it's only $25 if I service an A/C system and sell the customer a bunch of crap they don't kneed. Otherwise it's $15/hr. We bought this house as our dream home and hopefully we can sell it for what we paid. Crime is rampant and unbelievable here. I get nervous when my wife goes to the store alone at night. People get shot, stabbed, robbed, constantly. And the residents....not friendly at all. Sure, friendly in gift shops and restaurants. It's their job to be, your tourists. Go to Walmart or Publix on a Tuesday night at 9 and see all the real residents. You'll think your at a freak show is more like it. If your retired, or wealthy, Florida is great. You can just kick back by your pool and relax and not worry about the high cost of living and crappy pay. If your a middle class family trying to make ends meet and raise kids in a good environment with good schools, do what we should have done, STAY AWAY FROM FLORIDA!!!!!!

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junebug
Wallkill, NY

Sarasota - 6/14/2012

I am thinking of moving to Sarasota from upstate New York. Job opportunities look promising as does the weather. Any feedback would be appreciated.

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Rhett
Sarasota, FL

Medicare discrimination - 5/27/2012

Many doctors in the Sarasota-Bradenton area avoid patients with any type of Medicare insurance. Of course, they don't say anything about it publicly.

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john
Alpharetta, GA

Relocation to Sarasota or Tampa area? - 11/14/2011

Dear All, My family is considering relocating to the Sarasota or Tampa area. Schools are quite important with a PreK student and 3rd grader. Affordable housing, low crime, family oriented communities, limited traffic congestion are also very important. Are the local governments in both areas fiscally responsible, fiscally sound, and not in jeopardy of collapse? I would appreciate any feedback that the locals in Sarasota and Tampa could provide in helping us pick 1 city over the other. Thanks, John

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Kara
Sarasota, FL

Nice but Kind of Expensive - 9/21/2010

Sarasota is my hometown and it’s been my home for 32 years. My family has been in Sarasota since the 60s. Sarasota used to have that desirable small town feel, but now it’s a melting pot that is filling up fast. We used to joke that you can get anywhere in Sarasota in 15 minutes flat, but not anymore and especially not during tourist season. I have experienced some of what the previous people have reported and for the most part, their reviews are accurate. Sarasota is very tourist based and it’s frustrating living here during season when the entire town becomes congested. As a teen I used to feel that Sarasota was boring but now I find that something is always going on! The downtown area, Siesta Key, and St. Armand’s Circle are quite busy with shops, restaurants, and bars; however, everything closes early compared to Tampa and Orlando. It is home to the prestigious Ringling School of Art & Design and a few other colleges have branches here, but I wouldn’t classify it as a college town. There are a lot of creative venues to enjoy; art museums, theaters, etc., but, the beautiful beaches are what keep tourists and snow birds coming back year after year. There are lots of young families living here, but, there are also lots of retirees. The cost of living is high and if you are a blue collar family it will be difficult to make ends meet and challenging to afford any decent sized home. Unemployment exceeds the national average. The locals are somewhat nice but they like to keep to themselves. You would too if your town was regularly bombarded by tourists. Yes, there are snobs here, but what do you expect? If you encounter rudeness and crime it’s because it has been brought here by the people who have moved here. Approximately half of the community is Democratic and half is Republican, which is refreshing. The climate is extremely hot and muggy for most of the year and it feels like there are only two seasons; summer and a brief fall. All in all, it’s a nice place to live (and no doubt beautiful) if you can afford it and if you don’t mind sweating from April until October! Most locals I know who have moved from Sarasota do so to get out of the muggy climate and to live in a more affordable market for working class families. I have enjoyed living here, but my family is relocating for those reasons as well.

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Kara
Sarasota, FL

Beautiful but Sweats-A-Lot - 9/21/2010

I'm a 2nd generation Sarasotan and I’ve lived in Sarasota for 32 years. My family has been in Sarasota since the 60s. The town used to have that desirable small town feel, but now it’s a melting pot that is filling up fast. We used to joke that you can get anywhere in Sarasota in 15 minutes flat, but not anymore and especially not during season. I have experienced some of what the previous people have reported and for the most part, their reviews are accurate. Sarasota is very tourist based and unless you are in the hospitality industry, it’s frustrating living here when the entire town becomes congested. As a teen I used to feel that Sarasota was boring but now something is always going on! The downtown area, Siesta Key, and St. Armand’s Circle are quite busy with shops, restaurants, and bars; however, everything closes early compared to Tampa and Orlando. Its home to Ringling School of Art & Design and several other colleges. There are a lot of creative venues to enjoy; art museums, theaters, etc., but, the beautiful beaches are what keep tourists and snow birds coming back year after year. There are lots of young families living here, but, there are also lots of retirees. The cost of living is high and if you are a blue collar family it will be difficult to make ends meet and challenging to afford any decent sized home. Unemployment exceeds the national average. The locals are somewhat nice but they like to keep to themselves. You would too if your town was regularly bombarded by tourists. Yes, there are snobs here, but what do you expect? If you encounter rudeness and crime I believe it’s because it has been brought here by the people who have moved here. Approximately half of the community is Democratic and half is Republican, which is refreshing. The climate is extremely hot and muggy for most of the year and it feels like there are only two seasons; summer and a brief fall. All in all, it’s a nice place to live (and no doubt beautiful) if you can afford it and if you don’t mind sweating from April until October! Most locals I know who have moved from Sarasota do so to get out of the muggy climate and to live in a more affordable market. My family is relocating for those reasons as well.

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Nyx
Sarasota, FL

Beautiful! - 7/15/2010

I've lived here most of my life and I love it here. Sure it's hot, muggy and buggy most of the time but that's why they invented air conditioning and screened-in porches and the beaches are just spectacular. There are excellent youth programs including youth opera, sailing and Sailor Circus and the arts community is a large part of the Sarasota lifestyle with an abundance of museums and performing arts centers. Just six or seven years ago the downtown area was a snooze but today it is being revitalized with tons of trendy boutiques and clubs, beautiful condos and all my old favorite little restaurants along with several great new ones. Just be prepared to deal with some pretty annoying construction right now but hey, it won't last forever and I think it'll be worth it :)

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PERSON
Mendham, NJ

I go on vacation here every year - 5/28/2010

This place has great beaches and fun for family vacations. I love that shopping circle, soooo much to do.

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Kathie
Sarasota, FL

Sarasota-something for everyone - 4/8/2010

The city has wide range of activities to choose from. There's opera, symphony, ballet, museums. Outside activities are numerous. The city and county have special events, concerts, art shows, craft shows almost every weekend.

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Andreas
Sarasota, FL

dining - 3/3/2010

i just love downtown sarasota dining and strolling

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Michael

Have Lived In Lakewood Ranch for 6 months - 2/20/2010

My wife and kids moved to Lakewood Ranch which is a new area outside of Sarasota about 6 months ago. I have always wanted to live in Florida as I got tired of the cold and winters of Wenatchee Washington and the Pacific Northwest. Florida has been a rude awankening for us as it is not at all what we expected. We have found the people a bit cold and distant as most are snow birds who have moved from the Northeast. We have managed to find however a handful of friends who were warm and welcoming. Our travels to Miami and Miami International Airport have been extremely stressful. Driving in the Lakewood Ranch area has been a bit unenjoyable also. Drivers are very agressive and can be extremely inpolite in our area as well as throughout the I75 corridor. There are usually 7 to 10 accidents a day between Tampa and Naples. After our experience here I do miss the warm friendly people of the Pacific Northwest. I wish the Pacific Northwest had the weather that Florida does.

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Patrick
Sarasota, FL

Sarasota living - 12/16/2009

I absolutely love the weather here in Sarasota and being able to play golf almost all year and the scenery at places like Siesta Key Beach is just great. That being said, I do not like the utility rates here for electric and even water runs us about $65.00/mo. The sales tax rate is 7% and I find that a bit high, although there is no state tax, that's a plus. My wife and I are getting ready to move to Moore, SC,(Greenville/Spartanburg area), in part because the cost of living there is aprox. 26% lower. Although I don't work anymore, the unemployment here is quite high, around 11%...that's primarily because new construction has dropped to almost nothing. For average retirees like us, without a nest egg, I would not recommend this area because of the relative high cost of living!! I will miss Sarasot, but the high cost of living is just not worth it!

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