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Old 12-29-2012, 11:12 PM
2 posts, read 4,072 times
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Hello, we are considering moving to Colorado Springs from Alaska and were wondering a few things?

How are the utility bills there? How much does it cost to register a auto there? I'm retired military and wonder how the on base shopping is? Can you purchase a house with a Pool there?

How is the crime rate? Is it friendly there, the people? One more question what is the best area to live in there?

I know that's a lot to ask but I'm hoping someone or some will answer this.

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Old 12-30-2012, 11:33 AM
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Utility bills vary a lot depending on who is your service provider and also whether you use gas heat, electric heat, propane, etc. I have a small house on three different utility companies - one for water, another for electric and another for gas. My water bill is I guess very cheap for the area - I spend $35/month year round even in summer. My electric bill averages $45/month. My gas bill is as little as $20 in summer and as much as $180 in a particularly cold winter month. I pay about $150/month for Internet and cable, but I think you can find that cheaper if you really want to. I have a land line for phone that is about $30/month and a cell with data plan that is about $60/month - but I think that can also be had for less.

For auto registration, I don't buy cars often enough to know, but I think it does vary a lot depending on the value of your vehicle. I think I pay maybe $160 annually but the last car I had was older and I only paid like $30-$40. I think some people pay a lot more.

As a whole, taxes are low here - some say too low.

I think the px on base is good, but I've never heard people talk about it much to be honest.

Houses with pools are quite rare here - it is too cold.

Crime rate is low for a city of this size, but if you read the papers you will notice there is indeed some crime - we are not apparently a city of all angels - there are a few low-life thugs around who think they are entitled to rob folks of their hard-earned money, etc. But most people can live their whole lives and their only experience with crime being what they read in the papers.

As for best area, that depends a lot on what you are looking for, so it is pretty hard to even venture a guess without more information.
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Old 12-30-2012, 01:22 PM
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There are lots of options for on base shopping since there are so many bases here. We live in Northgate and do our fill in shopping at the AF Academy commissary; every few weeks we go down to the big commissary at Peterson AFB for our main grocery shopping. It's about 3 times the size and has a much better selection (the BX is bigger, too. both are pretty typical Bxs, nothing impressive like, say, the NEX at Pearl Harbor). Ft. Carson also has a Commissary but it's way south so I've never been there.

We use the pharmacy on the Academy and it's a much shorter wait than the one at Peterson though it's smaller and there may be some meds they may not carry. We always use the mil pharmacies, though, if it isnt an emergency to avoid the co-pay.

We are also retired military and were originally on Tricare Prime but couldn't find any doctors here who would accept new patients. We switched to Tricare Standard and have had no trouble since then. There is also a VA clinic in the Springs and they will be opening a new one (double the size) in the fall of 2014. Until then there are a lot of procedures you have to go to the big VA hospital in Denver for. (Yes, they pay you a travel reimbursement but it's a pain driving an hour each way for a 10 minute MRI!)

Our cars are older and paid for - a 2000 Ford minivan and a 2003 Honda Civic - and we paid about $70 each for registration this year. There is a registration fee component (based on the type of vehicle and weight while empty) and an ownership tax component (in lieu of a personal property tax; it is based on the year of manufacture and original retail value) here so the newer and nicer your car is, the more it will cost you.

Water is the expensive utility here compared to the other states we have lived in. We have two adults and 3 teenagers at our house and water averages $150 a month in the summer and $100 in the winter and we haven't even done the backyard landscaping on our new house. Gas and electric for our 3100 sq foot house averages $170 to $200 a month. (We do have central air. After living in a rental without it for a year we made sure to include it when we built our new house. All those people who told us you don't need air conditioning here lied!)

As for where is the nicest part of town to live in, you will get lots of opinions and it depends on your taste and how much you want to spend. We ended up in Northgate after a year + out in Peyton (which reminded us too much of Oklahoma) and love it here. Our girls go to Discovery Canyon School, which is one of the top rated in town (and new and beautiful), we are close to shopping (in Monument, Briargate or on Powers) and we are closer to Denver. (It's less than an hour to downtown and 40 minutes to Ikea and the mall/ major shopping in Park Meadows.) Crime up here is pretty much nonexistent, though we are careful anyway out of habit.

The best thing about being here in Northgate is looking out the window and seeing the mountains so close. I never, ever tire of the mountains, no matter the season. When we go up to northern CO to visit my husband's family I go into "mountain withdrawal"; it's so flat!

I'm glad we retired here after the military, even if the defense job market here is awful right now thanks to the threat of sequestration. My husband has been unemployed for almost 6 months even with a TS/SCI clearance, 24 years of military experience and a strong skill set. (Two years ago when we first moved here he got 3 job offers in the first month.) We are hoping things turn around in 2013!
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Old 12-30-2012, 03:40 PM
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Wink Thanks for the information!

Thanks for responding!
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Old 01-01-2013, 05:27 PM
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See our thread on utility rates and such.
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Old 01-02-2013, 07:34 AM
3,493 posts, read 4,702,524 times
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Originally Posted by Modar View Post
moving to Colorado Springs from Alaska

Good decision.

I own a 2500 sqft house. Last month: Electric just over 40. Water just over 40. Gas was 90-ish.
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Old 01-02-2013, 08:29 AM
Location: Colorado Springs
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Peterson AFB is great for shopping. The BX and Commissary are both big, and very nice. The whole mall-type complex was built maybe 4-5 years ago....give or take.

The mall has a food court and all that standard stuff, alterations, optical, Starbucks, barber shop, beauty shop, and a refill pharmacy pick-up. It's good.

There are a lot of options. Ft. Carson to the South side of town...Peterson AFB, more toward the center, the AF Academy up North.

Compared to Alaska, I think you'll find prices for everything much cheaper here. There are a ton of military and retirees everywhere, but the base facilities are big enough that they don't feel packed.

Don't know about the pool question. I think you're more apt to find a home with an outdoor hot tub, before you'd find one with a pool.
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Old 01-02-2013, 11:12 AM
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Utilities will vary according to the age of the house. I eye those with envy their low utility bills.

Alas, fixing my drafty windows is on a long list of house improvements!!
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