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Washington, DC suburbs in Maryland Calvert County, Charles County, Montgomery County, and Prince George's County
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Old 08-31-2010, 10:30 AM
124 posts, read 640,199 times
Reputation: 133


Hi to all,

I'm considering to relocate back to the DC area in the near future. Even though I'm familiar with the area, there are many things that I do not know. Can someone please answer the following:

What are the property, state income, sales tax, county tax, and other taxes for both Howard & Montgomery Counties?

What do you pay a month for car, home insurance, etc.?

What do people general pay for Homeowners Association Fees?

What are the best performing high schools in both counties?

What high schools should I avoid?

Which areas should I avoid in both counties?

What organizations or recreational facilities provide youth sports?

Do the neighborhoods have recreational facilities for adults or will I have to join a gym?

What are the crime stats?

Best zipcodes to raise a family?

I know that Columbia, MD has neighborhood villages. Which villages are great to live in as far as schools, diversity, low crime, etc.

What are the best summer camps in both counties for youth? Or do the schools provide any summer enrichment camps?

Sorry, for so many questions. I just would like to zero in on specific zipcodes and areas during my next visit to DC. Also, feel free to send me a PM if you don't want to post on this forum.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 08-31-2010, 11:27 AM
332 posts, read 1,110,139 times
Reputation: 105
FYI, Howard County does not offer school choice, so you need to be really comfortable with the school you are districted for as well as the surrounding schools as boundary areas are flexible and determined by the HCPSS. School districts are not by town and boundaries change with redistricting and redistricting can occur at any time but has not really happened in the last few years, only minimal changes. However, if they bring on new schools and build additions as planned some redistricting will take place in the future, I believe at the last meeting they are targeting not to redistrict until 2012 0r 2013 when new schools become available.

All of the schools in Howard County are taught using the same materials and offer similiar educational opportunities. So the school system tries to maintain equity amongst all of the school. Equal inputs however the test scores are not the same amongst all of the schools, the highest test scores are in Clarksville, Marriotts Ridge and then the Centennial School District. The school with the lower test scores are usually dragged down due to performance of FARMs (free and reduced lunch students). The non FARM students usually perform comparable to the other students in the county but overall the scores are lowered. These schools are sometimes labled as bad but most of the parents do not agree with this. You can go to MDreportcard.org to get the results for all of MDs schools in both counties. The schools in Howard County do differ on extras like ROTC, quality of sports, band, PTA, boosters, etc. Laurel, Columbia, Jessup and Elkridge tends to have the bulk of the economic diversity and therefore will have a lot of the FARM students, thus lower scores.

Homeowners fees vary, the CA is based off of housing value and not a flat fee. You can go to the Columbia Association website and get information on the fee. Columbia Association. Columbia offers a ton of activities from sports, gyms, entertainment. The only thing that you annual assessment (HOA) fee gets you lots of sidewalks, tot lots, and a couple of open events a year. Everything else you pay additional for, the rates are reasonable if you compared them to a gym membership and you get a lot of activities for your additional fee. You get pools, discounted golf, gyms, skating - roller and ice, batting cages, you name it, they do have a lot of activities. You can join the CA for even more if you are not a resident of Columbia, you can find information on the CA link from above.

Villages - no particular order
-River Hill - this would get you Clarksville school - a decent amount of Asians, very few African Americans and Hispanics
-Dorsey Search - Part Columbia part Ellicott City - HS would be Centennial. Ellicott City side has more Asians and Columbia side has more AA
-Hickory Ridge - people prefer to feed into Atholton High School - divese more AA
-Owen Brown - nice lake area and some of the more affordable SF in Columbia

There are more detailed posts on the villages and etc. That you can search.

Columbia is diverse and fairly well integrated however not all of the communities are both diverse and integrated. In a few communities you will find most of the minorites in the apt complexes and some townhomes and others are more integrated such as Wilde Lake, Harper's Choice. So if you move to a SF it might not be as diverse as you would have thought.

There are a lot of sections of Columbia that is not in a village or not a part of the CA, usually you will have a HOA fee.

The other area that a lot of people like is Fulton, it is very nice but I'm concerned about the price of real estate there plus the amount of stuff still to be built and built in the last few years. You could see foreclosures in this area because of people being underwater. You might be able to get a good deal there.

Tax rates MD Current Tax Rates
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Old 09-03-2010, 09:36 AM
124 posts, read 640,199 times
Reputation: 133
Thanks SmokeyLisa!

Does anyone have any information that they could share about Montgomery County?
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