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Florida - Miami vs. Tampa St. Pete

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Old 11-20-2003, 10:32 AM
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Default Florida - Miami vs. Tampa St. Pete

I was hoping my Florida OSO brethren could help me evaluate living aresa in Florida. There is nothing like local knowledge. I live on the No. Jersey shore on the water. Although this is one of the best places to live in Jersey, the place is out of control with taxes, cost of liveing, insurance, etc. but it has good labor market for IT (I'm a director/managing consultant). Fla. has been soft but I'm starting to get some pings again - I was almost moved just before the recession hit.

Knowing the lifestyle we share (boating) and the fact that I have school-age kids. What do you think are the best traits bewteen the areas of Miami and Tampa/St. Pete.

I am evaluating these on living conditions, cost of keeoing a boat (waterfront property or Marina). and best place to raise a family.

Just looking for some local knowledge.

Thanx
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Old 11-20-2003, 10:41 AM
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Miami boasts a fast paced, multi-cultural party atmosphere. There is a an abundance of wealth and a lot of poverty. It's certainly a more upbeat, late night kind of place. I can't speak for schools, etc. but my impressions of Miami the two times I've visited, is I would be hesitant to relocate my family there. Our Miami OSO friends can shed more light on this, though.

Tampa/St. Pete is a more laid-back place, but equally full of fun and things to do. The beaches are great(some of the cleanest and best in the nation) and the boating is top notch. The gulf is pleasant and usually quite navigable. The cost of living is probably quite a bit less than Miami also with taxes and insurance. Most of the schools around here are rated A's and B's(Florida school ratings), crime is low and people are great. There are plenty of on-the-water eateries and very many boater friendly facilities.
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Old 11-20-2003, 10:50 AM
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I would think, with kids, and the fact that you are looking for waterfront property, you would probably be better off with the Tampa/St Pete area. I am not too sure of Gulf Coast Waterfront Property prices, but I live in Boca, and can tell you they are Out of Control in the Miami/Ft Lauderdale/West Palm Beach area. I dont have any kids, but if I did, I you can bet your a$$ they would be going to a private school. My Girlfriend is a school teacher in the Broward Public Schools, and let me tell you she counts on her fingers, and needs a calculater to figure out the tip at a restaurant.

Marinas are expensive here in Fort Lauderdale, but I am sure they are almost as much in the Tampa area. Most of us trailer around here. I personally like this coast better, just because it is the Atlantic. If it were me, I would look in Palm Beach County, West of the Turnpike, Homes are much cheaper out there, most of the communities are new, With the money you save send the kids to good schools, Buy a big a$$ truck, with the boat on a trailer, and then you can trailer anywhere(it takes forever to get around in the no-wake zones down here). But that is just me, I am sure some of the Tampa/St Pete people will kick in here. The best way is to come spend some time, and see for yourself.
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Old 11-20-2003, 11:02 AM
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One of the biggest sticking points for us is the qulaity of schools. Fla just cannot beat Oceanport, NJ. However we are parents that take an active role in their education so we just don't "ship them off" to school and hope for the teachers to do a good job.

Another concern is that being from the "industrial NorthEast" we woud freak out if we had to live in a completely rural area. We enjoy cultural things and "metropolitan" type areas.

Miami seems extremely expensive COL wise - just like Jersey and it makes no sense to send them to private schools. I know we could not live on the water there.

Tampa/St. Pete/FT. Meyers might be more doable and the fact that I work a lot of hours means not having waterfront property anymore would not really hurt the amount of boating I do.

My only concern with the west coast is is it too laid back and are there IT jobs there.
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Old 11-20-2003, 11:17 AM
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I know what you mean about schools. I grew up in New Jersey and there's no comparisson as a whole. However, there are some outstanding schools down here, just not enough of them. A lot of it has to do with the community you live...In other words, the kids that attend and the teachers that live in the area have everything to do with the overall school quality. Fortunately, this is one of the better areas.

I'm not sure exactly what kind of IT you do, but Tampa is a bustling "little city" with a lot of industries present. I have a lot of friends that work IT around here. Are you in the development/software company area or more like network management type work? If it's the latter, you'll have no problem here. There are a lot of large companies located here; for instance, Raymond James, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Equifax, Lockheed Martin, Honeywell, Jabil Circuit and many more who all need IT professionals.
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Old 11-20-2003, 11:28 AM
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Well, maybe private schools is taking it a little too far, but I would definitely take a close look at the schools anywhere in Florida, I am from the Northeast(CT) also, and Florida is not known for having the best Public School System. There are some "A" rated schools in South Florida, I am not too sure about Miami, but Coral Springs(West of Ft. lauderdale) has won awards for some of the best schools in Florida, Also most of the Western South Florida areas are newer areas with Beutiful homes, They are not "completely rural" unless you want to move that far out. Maybe Cash Bar will kick in here, he grew up down here, and is moving back next month to Palm Beach County I believe. You can live West, and commute East, as most of us do. I live in West Boca Raton, it is very quiet, yet we have everthing within Driving distance. I can be in West palm Beach(45 mins.), Downtown Fort Lauderdale(30 nins), Miami(45-60 mins), and even Key Largo(75 mins) in a very short time. Even though I live West, I can have my boat in the ICW(DelRay) in about 30 minutes. Living West also has its advantages in that we are not within Boca Raton City Limits, our taxes are less, and they(City of Boca Raton) have some stupid rule about not keeping your boat at home, my sub development has the same rule, but as long as its behind a fence they let me do it.
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Old 11-20-2003, 12:15 PM
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I'm in the deployment and managent end of the IT biz. I manage people and build predominantly Microsoft-based technololgies.

I did the comaprison where you plug in your salary and cities. However, I am hoping I could get buy with less salary becuase I would have a smaller nut to swing. I could probably sell my house for about 800-900K. I was hoping to buy some thing with 4 bedrooms and 2 baths in the neighborhood for 350K or so. On the water - I have no idea what it would cost on the west coast.

If I could really get a handle on wha the actual COL is and find the decent schools you talk about, I'm there yesterday!
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Old 11-20-2003, 12:31 PM
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Shooter, in the 350k range, you'll have no problem finding a nice 3 or 4 bed on the water with deep water out back; When we did the move from Jersey, we made out well. It's quite a big change when all you pay is federal tax on income and not have to pay the outrageous property taxes we did in NJ.

It's different for everyone, but I found that my COL is a lot less than what it was in NJ. I make a little less, but I have more left in my pocket.
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Old 11-20-2003, 08:39 PM
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I was on the job boards and real-estate sites today and it looks like housing is no problem in the Tampa / St. Pete areas.

Job wise and COL wise it looks like it costs 20% less to live in Florida and it also pays about 20% less too. If I do a paralell move I'm good.

Problem is the job market is trying to lowball - bad mistake in the IT field, but the employers will pay for it in the future - they always do.
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Old 11-20-2003, 08:47 PM
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With a family, there is no doubt Tampa/St Pete is a better area to live. I'm 48, and I'm skeered of the Miami area! As far as schools, I sent you my sister's emai, she's been a teacher here for over 20 years. I gradutated here in Florida, and I think I spell and use the proper words better than 80% of the people here on OSO. I'm still trying to figure out what "prolly" means.
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