At first glance, Monticello seems to be very clean and very charming. Appearances can be deceiving, so the best advice I can offer is to rent a home and spend at least a year here, then decide whether or not you wish to make it your permanent home.
My husband works for the government and when he was transferred to Indiana, we looked for homes within a reasonable commuting distance of his office. We are fans of smaller towns/rural areas, so Monticello met that criteria. We found a nice rental home with somewhat reasonable rent and settled in.
Pros: Home prices are reasonable if you're looking to buy, but that is the norm in most of Indiana. There are a couple of nice golf courses in the area and a few nice local restaurants. There is a good general care hospital.
Cons: No cultural activities whatsoever. Locals are unfriendly towards outsiders and look down their noses at tourists although tourism is heavily tied to the town's economy. Utility rates are jaw-droppingly high...the highest we have ever paid and we have lived almost all over the country. No jobs locally that pay more than minimum wage. Employment opportunities are limited to Wal-Mart, fast food and a couple of factories. It is my understanding that the highest paying employer in the area, Ball Corporation, has few employees who actually live in Monticello. Most commute in from larger towns such as Lafayette, and most new hires are from temp agencies. Those people are rarely hired on as full-time regular employees. The school system is ok, but not as highly rated as other surrounding districts. Downtown is pretty much deserted with fewer occupied properties than vacant ones. Shopping is very limited. Property crime rate is high.
We stayed here for 18 months. My husband subsequently put in for a transfer to Bloomington and we absolutely love it there. It's like a day and night difference. Again, we opted to live outside of the city proper, but have found that even in the sparsely populated area we chose (between Bloomington and Nashville), we have been received with open arms by the locals and there is always tons of things to do in Bloomington.
Janis | Bloomington, IN