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Old 02-15-2012, 03:36 AM
Location: Jacksonville, FL
5 posts, read 9,826 times
Reputation: 10


My wife, four kids, and I are interested in relocating from Jacksonville, FL to the 4 Corners area. I grew up in so. Calif. (Redlands), so I have an idea of life in a semi-arid area around mountains. My kids have been too sheltered here in Jacksonville, FL, and I want to give them space to breathe in, more freedom to roam, to experience the land. We are members of the L.D.S. church.

I've been looking at the community stats for the major towns in NW New Mexico, and in SW Colorado, and I'm leaning toward the Cortez/Durango area. I will probably be working in Farmington or to the east of there. Taxes look to be lower on the CO side, same with crime stats (Cortez is lowest). I homeschool my 9 year old boys, and my two girls will soon be in high school.

My wife has a background in chemistry, and I've got 20+ years in the Navy, and have been working as a security officer. There seem to be a few jobs available in the Farmington area, which we plan to apply for.

We are driving out there in April, to look around and get the lay of the land. From pictures I've seen on the Internet, it is absolutely beautiful out there. I have to add, I am also a survivalist, and I'm looking for a piece of land to get off the grid. We'll be renting at first, while we look for land.

Any helpful hints as to what we should expect would be much appreciated. Also, how are relations with the Native American population nearby?


Last edited by manderson65; 02-15-2012 at 03:43 AM.. Reason: add info

Old 02-15-2012, 08:34 AM
Location: Western Colorado
10,520 posts, read 11,628,203 times
Reputation: 24168
It's not really the mountains, it's the desert. You really need to visit first, in mid August and in mid winter. TALK TO LOCALS who live there, talk to a local patrolman about living there and crime and gangs in Cortez. Good luck to you.
Old 02-15-2012, 09:06 AM
8,317 posts, read 25,095,377 times
Reputation: 9065
I fully agree with Jim. I firmly believe that, in your circumstances, you will find Durango unaffordable. If you are going to be working in Farmington (and if you don't have a job in hand before you relocate, the whole plan is risky in the extreme), then live in or near Farmington. If I had to choose among the towns around Farmington, I would probably choose Aztec. There are some pleasant rural areas around Bloomfield, as well, but I have not heard good things about Bloomfield itself--particularly from some former residents of the community. Setting oneself up for a commute from either Durango or Cortez to Farmington is just plain stupid, in my opinion, in the current energy/economic environment.

I'm quite familiar with the tax environments of both Colorado and New Mexico. New Mexico's income tax is slightly higher than Colorado's, but the difference is pretty insignificant. Property taxes are fairly similar. The big difference is in sales taxes. Colorado's STATE sales tax rate is 2.9%, BUT county and local entities impose their own sales taxes, so the actual rate of tax can top 8% in some places. New Mexico imposes a gross receipts tax, also of variable rate by locale, but the tax applies to services as well as goods. Both states exempt groceries from tax. Motor vehicle fees in New Mexico are a fraction of what Colorado's are, but New Mexico auto insurance rates tend to be higher, which offsets some of the difference. Overall, I consider New Mexico's tax environment slightly more "friendly" than Colorado's, but the differences are not huge. I believe New Mexico has more tax breaks and incentives for veterans than does Colorado, which has few.

As for Native American/Anglo relations, that can be a sticky subject. OK to not-so-good would probably be a general answer, but it varies by individual as well as by tribe. With two different Ute bands, the Navajos, and the Jicarilla Apaches all within relatively close proximity, it is an interesting mix. Through in a diverse Anglo population and a substantial Hispanic population and it is a culturally "interesting" place, in both the good and bad senses of the word.
Old 02-15-2012, 01:22 PM
Location: Southeastern Colorado
319 posts, read 620,011 times
Reputation: 439
I know you said you are a survivalist and want to be off-grid, but I wonder if you are planning to connect up wih other LDS families on your visit. Seems that there would be many doors open to you to meet folks and learn about their experiences through that network. Just a thought; perhaps you're already doing that...
Old 02-15-2012, 05:13 PM
Location: Jacksonville, FL
5 posts, read 9,826 times
Reputation: 10
Originally Posted by bovinedivine View Post
I know you said you are a survivalist and want to be off-grid, but I wonder if you are planning to connect up wih other LDS families on your visit. Seems that there would be many doors open to you to meet folks and learn about their experiences through that network. Just a thought; perhaps you're already doing that...
Yes, we are working that angle. Thanks for your responses. We do not intend on relocating there without at least one of us having a job waiting for us when we get there. I agree, driving from Cortez or Durango every day to Farmington seems unwise. I own a music production business (live sound tech/engineer and DJ), so, if I can begin networking among entertainment circles there quickly, then at least I've got that to start with. I hear there's an amphitheater, and nice parks?

I read a discussion in this forum about water issues in Colorado. I understand Farmington only receives about 9 inches of rainfall annually. Should I be concerned about water shortages there? Is there much snow/ice melt from various points in the San Juan mountains that reaches the Farmington area, or does the area rely solely on the San Juan River for its water?

Also, We're hoping to get a point of contact with the community band there. My wife and daughter both play French horn.
Old 02-15-2012, 05:47 PM
Location: Jacksonville, FL
5 posts, read 9,826 times
Reputation: 10
One more thing...since you mentioned gangs, I did some surfing and came up with this 2003 article, which is rather concerning.


Is the gang activity really that bad, or has it gotten worse?

Last edited by manderson65; 02-15-2012 at 05:49 PM.. Reason: link update
Old 02-15-2012, 06:36 PM
2,253 posts, read 5,835,868 times
Reputation: 2615
Wink Durango & Farmington

Farmington, NM is at the confluence of the San Juan and Animas rivers, so its metro area likely with sufficient water, assuming sufficient rights to that. Outside of town, anywhere in the Four Corners region, is another matter, particularly when 'off the grid.' You'll want to be checking closely that purchased water rights are sufficient to desired need. Moreover, projections are for the American Southwest to become a drier and more arid place, with less precipitation, in the coming decades. So plan accordingly, which would also include what any municipality promises it can deliver in water, but may not be able to.

New Mexico is in various ways probably more friendly to those wishing to be off the grid. For one, unless this has changed, unlike Colorado they do allow the collecting of water off the roof, as with cisterns. And related, also in allowing the use of grey water in a septic system.

As mentioned and acknowledged, it would be a long commute between Durango and Farmington. But one should be aware that the Four Corners region runs from dry desert to relatively lush sub-alpine mountains. With any familiarity one will quickly realize that much more lies between Farmington and Durango than differing cultures. Farmington basically lies in the high desert, whereas by Durango one is in a distinctly greener place, and on the edge of real mountains. One may have a preference in such things, even if well outside either town.
Old 02-15-2012, 06:53 PM
Location: Southeastern Colorado
319 posts, read 620,011 times
Reputation: 439
Regarding rainwater harvesting, here's a NY Times article from 2009 regarding a change in the law. Coincidentally, the article is written from Durango:

Its Now Legal to Catch a Raindrop in Colorado - NYTimes.com

And, if you don't trust those Easterners , here's some info (also dated 2009 post-legislative change) from CSU Extension.

Graywater Reuse and Rainwater Harvesting

Hopefully this will answer some questions for the OP as well as the rest of us.
Old 02-15-2012, 08:13 PM
106 posts, read 331,523 times
Reputation: 189
Durango has quite the music scene for a town as small as it is. I would say more music then Farmington. I know numerous people that DJ or do sound in Durango and I don't go out! Some do it solely for a living, others do have a day job. While driving from Durango to Farmington for work isn't ideal, there are quite a few people that do just that, my BIL and several of my neighbors included. Everyone that I know does it because they don't want to live in Farmington. They may only be an hour apart but it is like comparing apples to oranges, nothing is the same really, two very distinct towns.

Gangs in Farmington is a reality. On a day to day basis, I'm not sure how much they would affect you, minimally I'm sure. My sister and BIL frequently would hear gunshots and other things in their not so nice apartment in Farmington, this would of been 3 years ago. They couldn't wait to move back to Durango. If your house is on the nicer side of town then that wouldn't be an issue. They had no other encounters outside of their apartment and no one else I know in Farmington has ever had an issue either. While I know people in Farmington, I don't know anyone there with high school aged children. Back when I went to school in Durango, the high schools in Farmington where considered rough. At my kid's school in Durango though, we have 2 families that commute over to take their elem/middle school aged children to school here rather then sending them to Farmington. Farmington does have a very active homeschooling community, something that Durango does not have as much of. Durango has one Christian homeschooling group that requires a written statement of faith. There is an LDS ward in Red Mesa which is not quite halfway between Durango and Farmington on Hwy 140. I grew up out that way and there are numerous LDS families there as well people that choose to live closer to Farmington for commuting reasons while still living in CO. It is quite rural and you certainly would not be the only survivalist there!
Old 02-16-2012, 09:25 AM
Location: Jacksonville, FL
5 posts, read 9,826 times
Reputation: 10
Thanks for the info After further consideration, and I've been discussing this with my wife for the past few days, we've decided to scrap the idea of moving to the four corners area. We have no loyalties there, it just seemed at first glance like it would be a great place to relocate to.

Three things that drove us to this decision: One, I don't feel comfortable about the tensions that exist there between the Native Americans and Anglo peoples, and the gangs. When the crap hits the fan (i.e. E.M.P.), utilities will shut down, and rioting will soon break out, then the looting of grocery stores and pharmacies, and everything else. I can't help but feel as if the NA's will come off the reservation and ransack the place! Not only them, but the gangs are going to rear their ugly heads, and us honest folk, who are trying to help each other out and do the right thing, are going to be at a severe disadvantage. I think we'll more than likely be outnumbered, overtaken, and worst...dead. Two, there is the employment issue (lack of jobs). My wife, as a chemist/lab tech, probably is not going to find a good job in the area. Third, I'd rather be on the CO side, but it's quite a bit more expensive closer to Durango, which is where we would rather be. Alas, maybe after the kids are grown.

So, we've decided to look to the east, on the front of the range, maybe Pueblo or Canon City. Thanks again for your input!
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