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Old 05-06-2007, 10:07 PM
 
20 posts, read 110,410 times
Reputation: 28

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Hi, y'all...

I drove through KS this past weekend (a very unfortunate weekend in some parts ) and had some thoughts and questions I'd like to share.

First and foremost was the difference in motorists between Kansas and Oklahoma (where I live now). It seems to me that we Oklahomans could learn alot about driving from Kansans. It was like my stress level behind the wheel went down several notches after I was across the border. I actually enjoyed driving again. Of course the minute I passed back into Oklahoma, it was back to the usual terror.

Second, the Kansas road system seems to beat Oklahoma's by miles. I was able to drive down state and US highways without beating my car to death. Things are well-signed and even at night things are generally easy to discern at speed. Plus, I didn't notice an overabundance of speedtraps. Overall, I felt very safe. Of course the minute I passed back into Oklahoma it was back to the usual roughness.

I was floored by the number of beautiful farm-style homes in Kansas. Downtown areas were very clean (except maybe the west side of DDC), well-kept and quite quaint. Something very poignant about driving through small Kansas towns after dark was that they seemed very abandoned, like everyone went home and stayed in for the night, even early on Saturday night.

I've been a little put off about some of these things about Oklahoma for awhile, and I have been considering moving out. I like the Texas panhandle, and my impressions of Kansas have been pretty favorable. This leads me to some questions.

The area I toured was generally the south-central area of the state west of Wichita (again, bad weekend for this). Is the rest of the state outside of the large cities comparable in infrastructure and culture?

How are the large cities for livability and crime?

How are the prices on some of these big, beautiful farmhouses and attached land?

How do incomes and costs of living relate? Is the tax burden ridiculous (something has to pay for that road system...)?

What's the general impression of government in Kansas?

Thanks, all...
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Old 05-08-2007, 11:28 PM
 
Location: Eastern Kansas
89 posts, read 458,905 times
Reputation: 65
I wish someone had responded to you by now. I have a hard time answering your questions, because everyone's perceptions are different. What I think is wonderful, some people think is a bad thing. And what someone else thinks is grand might be something I couldn't live with.

Salaries aren't what you could make in California. But the general cost of living is so much lower that it balances out, for us anyway.

Housing taxes seem outrageous to me, but I don't mind too much. There aren't all that many people in this county, yet we have a good standard of living with good highways, a sheriff's dept, etc. The people here in the small towns anyway, still seem to care what happens to you.

I don't have a real impression of the gov't in Kansas, but my general impression is good. The people here seem to think. And I've noticed that our politicians seem accessible, something not true in a state the size of California.

I live in a small town. Our property values are low, our taxes high. But it is pretty here and pretty peaceful.
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Old 05-08-2007, 11:31 PM
 
Location: Debary, Florida
2,267 posts, read 2,391,242 times
Reputation: 685
I really like Kansas and I noticed the same thing you did about driving in Kansas. I used to go up and visit family in Shawnee Mission Kansas, which is near Kansas City, I would drive from Dallas/Fort Worth area.

The people were easy going and friendly AND all the comforts of home.

I do have to say that the weather was a little frightening at times but at least they have tornado sirens there...every place you live has some kind of horrible weather problem.

If you have to have it, I prefer the hurricanes because they can tell you so far in advance...
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Old 05-10-2007, 10:03 PM
 
20 posts, read 110,410 times
Reputation: 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by fishbowl
I wish someone had responded to you by now. I have a hard time answering your questions, because everyone's perceptions are different. What I think is wonderful, some people think is a bad thing. And what someone else thinks is grand might be something I couldn't live with.
Thanks for your thoughts and responses. They are important to me because they help balance my own perception against realism.

I am used to lower salaries, having lived in Oklahoma for the past 6 years. When I moved here, I took a 1/3 pay cut from what I was making in Ohio, but I found no real difference in my standard of living, given the low cost of living here in the Sooner State.

Here in Oklahoma, we don't have municipal income taxes (thank goodness... that was one thing I didn't like about Ohio). We do have a state income tax and a state sales tax to fund state gubment. The cities survive on sales taxes (and local fees and penalties), and the counties and school systems live largely on property taxes. My property tax rate is 11 per mill valuation yearly, and total sales tax (state, county, and local combined) ranges from 7.5 to 9.5 per cent---how does these compare to the rates in Kansas?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa_from_Debary
I do have to say that the weather was a little frightening at times but at least they have tornado sirens there...every place you live has some kind of horrible weather problem.
Yeah... it's the same in Oklahoma. 'Course, KS gets more snow, which is something I don't miss from living up north. The media weather wars are out-of-control here (taken waaay past the point of being for "safety").

After doing a little research about crime in KS, I learned that KS's numbers are slightly better than OK's, and somewhat comparable to Ohio's.

Some other things I'm curious about are car insurance rates (they are sky-high here in OK... go figure with the way people drive and the road system here) and vehicle registration fees.

Thanks again, all.
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Old 05-11-2007, 08:51 AM
 
11 posts, read 44,704 times
Reputation: 26
Default It's all relative

I can't answer your questions directly, as I am currently a Buffalo, NY resident moving to Kansas City this summer, but Fishbowl hit one thing right on the head: everything is relative.

Fishbowl mentioned high taxes, as did a post on another thread comparing Overland Park and Olathe. But I'd take Olathe's taxes in a heartbeat. The housing prices seem comparable to places around here (not Buffalo the city, but its suburbs), but Olathe's property taxes are roughly 25% of Buffalo! Not to mention comparing sales tax of 7.53% in Olathe to 8.75% in Buffalo. I'll take Olathe's "high" taxes any day, and that is one of the main reasons I'm moving.

As far as driving goes, that's relative too. I used to be a cross-country truck driver. Whatever you think of Oklahoma drivers, they aren't anything compared to these East Coast drivers. I was always happy to get dispatched west. Basically once I got west of the Mississippi my blood pressure dropped significantly (though I was never dispatched west of the Rockies, so I didn't have the California experience).

If you think OK drivers are bad, I highly recommend you do not go to Boston, Atlanta, or the entire state of Michigan

Whether taxes or driving, I'll take Kansas OR Oklahoma any day.

Last edited by xpnctoc; 05-11-2007 at 08:54 AM.. Reason: fixing typos
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Old 05-11-2007, 11:43 AM
 
Location: IN
20,238 posts, read 34,603,068 times
Reputation: 12585
Post Overland Park and Olathe

Quote:
Originally Posted by xpnctoc View Post
I can't answer your questions directly, as I am currently a Buffalo, NY resident moving to Kansas City this summer, but Fishbowl hit one thing right on the head: everything is relative.

Fishbowl mentioned high taxes, as did a post on another thread comparing Overland Park and Olathe. But I'd take Olathe's taxes in a heartbeat. The housing prices seem comparable to places around here (not Buffalo the city, but its suburbs), but Olathe's property taxes are roughly 25% of Buffalo! Not to mention comparing sales tax of 7.53% in Olathe to 8.75% in Buffalo. I'll take Olathe's "high" taxes any day, and that is one of the main reasons I'm moving.

As far as driving goes, that's relative too. I used to be a cross-country truck driver. Whatever you think of Oklahoma drivers, they aren't anything compared to these East Coast drivers. I was always happy to get dispatched west. Basically once I got west of the Mississippi my blood pressure dropped significantly (though I was never dispatched west of the Rockies, so I didn't have the California experience).

If you think OK drivers are bad, I highly recommend you do not go to Boston, Atlanta, or the entire state of Michigan

Whether taxes or driving, I'll take Kansas OR Oklahoma any day.
Their are differences between Overland Park and Olathe. Overland Park has always been a suburb since the city first started out while Olathe has mainly been an overgrown farm town until more recently. Overland Park has many older neighborhoods compared with Olathe, which is mainly all cookie cutter houses. If you can spend a little more for a house I would definitely go with a 20 year old house in Overland Park compared with a new ugly cookie cutter house in Olathe. They trick people into buying some of these lower priced houses, but the quality of construction on many of the houses is not good. I prefer established "mature" cities compared with ones that have extreme population growth and poor urban planning such as Olathe.
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Old 05-11-2007, 01:22 PM
 
Location: Eastern Kansas
89 posts, read 458,905 times
Reputation: 65
Property taxes in Greenwood county, Kansas are roughly 2.4% of the assessed value of the house. For instance, our house was assessed last year at about 40,000 dollars, our taxes were a bit over 900 dollars. Something like that.

They try to run the assessments at pretty close to the true value of the house. I think in Greenwood county they are pretty fair in their valuation figuring.

Up in Emporia (Lyon county) they continuously over valued our home. I kept arguing with them, and they told me that I could have a hearing, but that they'd win. LOL So, I didn't bother. When we sold, I was proven right. But so what? The prices were so low at that time, it was nickles and dimes we were talking.

Sales taxes. I think it is 6.3% in Greenwood county. I believe it is more in Lyon county. Depends on the county.

Car tags seem high to me. We paid more on those than we did when we lived in California (that could be different today, we haven't lived in calif in over 12 years.) We have two 2002 cars, our car tags in Greenwood county this year are over 440 dollars, all together.

Frankly, I think unless things are outrageously weird, like Southern California has become, it probably levels out no matter where you live.

We may stay right here the rest of our lives, or we may make one more move someday. We just haven't decided yet. But we are looking at cost of living because we'll have less money when we retire. But the rest of what is important to us is living in a smallish town with lovely, natural surroundings, as best as we can get anyway.

Some people like the hustle and bustle of city living. There's KC and the surrounding areas like Overland park, etc, and Lawrence, Topeka, Wichita.

If you like a smaller feel, but busy too, some of the turnpike towns might please you. We will never move back to a turnpike town, but some people just love them.

If you have time for road trips, I'd suggest road tripping here and there around the state. Each area of the state has a different feel somehow. I like the SE corner of the state, but my husband isn't comfortable there. He likes the greater KC area, but I don't like it.

We both like where we are, and I think he'd like North Central Kansas too. I do, along I-70.

Crime can happen everywhere. Some places it is more obvious, and some places it isn't, but it's there somehow. Meth was a big deal here. They've been working on it since our beloved sheriff was killed by a meth crazed guy.

But when we moved to Emporia, crime wasn't as bad as it is now. I one time accidentally left my purse in the driveway about 10 years ago. It was still there the next day! In full view of the street. We could leave bikes parked outside and they were never stolen. We could fix up the yard with pretty stuff, and it was always there.

Then it all changed. I mean, even some of my pretty rocks out of my garden were stolen. Our mailbox was emptied regularly. It was bad enough that I wound up getting a P.O. Box and picking up our mail daily.

Crime has risen in Emporia, at least in our neighborhood, if my experience is any measure. That was one reason we moved.

Janet

Janet
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Old 05-11-2007, 01:40 PM
 
Location: IN
20,238 posts, read 34,603,068 times
Reputation: 12585
Post The Flint Hills!

Quote:
Originally Posted by fishbowl View Post
Property taxes in Greenwood county, Kansas are roughly 2.4% of the assessed value of the house. For instance, our house was assessed last year at about 40,000 dollars, our taxes were a bit over 900 dollars. Something like that.

They try to run the assessments at pretty close to the true value of the house. I think in Greenwood county they are pretty fair in their valuation figuring.

Up in Emporia (Lyon county) they continuously over valued our home. I kept arguing with them, and they told me that I could have a hearing, but that they'd win. LOL So, I didn't bother. When we sold, I was proven right. But so what? The prices were so low at that time, it was nickles and dimes we were talking.

Sales taxes. I think it is 6.3% in Greenwood county. I believe it is more in Lyon county. Depends on the county.

Car tags seem high to me. We paid more on those than we did when we lived in California (that could be different today, we haven't lived in calif in over 12 years.) We have two 2002 cars, our car tags in Greenwood county this year are over 440 dollars, all together.

Frankly, I think unless things are outrageously weird, like Southern California has become, it probably levels out no matter where you live.

We may stay right here the rest of our lives, or we may make one more move someday. We just haven't decided yet. But we are looking at cost of living because we'll have less money when we retire. But the rest of what is important to us is living in a smallish town with lovely, natural surroundings, as best as we can get anyway.

Some people like the hustle and bustle of city living. There's KC and the surrounding areas like Overland park, etc, and Lawrence, Topeka, Wichita.

If you like a smaller feel, but busy too, some of the turnpike towns might please you. We will never move back to a turnpike town, but some people just love them.

If you have time for road trips, I'd suggest road tripping here and there around the state. Each area of the state has a different feel somehow. I like the SE corner of the state, but my husband isn't comfortable there. He likes the greater KC area, but I don't like it.

We both like where we are, and I think he'd like North Central Kansas too. I do, along I-70.

Crime can happen everywhere. Some places it is more obvious, and some places it isn't, but it's there somehow. Meth was a big deal here. They've been working on it since our beloved sheriff was killed by a meth crazed guy.

But when we moved to Emporia, crime wasn't as bad as it is now. I one time accidentally left my purse in the driveway about 10 years ago. It was still there the next day! In full view of the street. We could leave bikes parked outside and they were never stolen. We could fix up the yard with pretty stuff, and it was always there.

Then it all changed. I mean, even some of my pretty rocks out of my garden were stolen. Our mailbox was emptied regularly. It was bad enough that I wound up getting a P.O. Box and picking up our mail daily.

Crime has risen in Emporia, at least in our neighborhood, if my experience is any measure. That was one reason we moved.

Janet

Janet
I am glad you enjoy living in Greenwood County Kansas so much. It has a spectacular natural setting with portions of the Flint Hills bisecting the county. Chase County and Cottonwood Falls is one of my favorite spots to visit in the Flint Hills region. I am not suprised at your valuation listing for that area. Greenwood County has lost quite a few jobs in the past several years according to the Census information. It is also losing younger College greaduates as they usually take higher paying jobs in urban areas of the state and elsewhere. Greenwood County also has one of the few remaining areas of intact tall grass prairie in the US. It is definitely a nice rural setting compared to Emporia.
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Old 05-11-2007, 02:35 PM
 
Location: Eastern Kansas
89 posts, read 458,905 times
Reputation: 65
I really like Cottonwood Falls. We would have considered moving there, but we don't want to drive hwy 50 between Strong City and Emporia. My husband works in Emporia. Hwy 50 along that stretch is awful to drive, too many trucks, too many cars, all going too fast. It's got enough traffic for at least a four lane, divided highway, yet it's a two lane road.

If they widen it in the next few years, we might consider a move to Cottonwood Falls. That is just such a pretty little town. Just love it.

Janet
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Old 05-14-2007, 07:52 AM
 
Location: Salina
31 posts, read 191,613 times
Reputation: 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by fishbowl View Post
I really like Cottonwood Falls. We would have considered moving there, but we don't want to drive hwy 50 between Strong City and Emporia. My husband works in Emporia. Hwy 50 along that stretch is awful to drive, too many trucks, too many cars, all going too fast. It's got enough traffic for at least a four lane, divided highway, yet it's a two lane road.

If they widen it in the next few years, we might consider a move to Cottonwood Falls. That is just such a pretty little town. Just love it.

Janet
That is a pretty place for sure, all the stone buildings, the hills, the creeks and rivers, the courthouse, the nice quiet life. It would seem to me that Cottonwood Falls would be a great place to retire. Emporia is nearby and easy access to the turnpike just south of there. That tallgrass prairie is impossible to beat. The community is just loaded with history. They are fighting to keep population like a lot of small counties (population wise) and some bargain housing is probably available. Glen
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