January 14, 2007

Florida Property Taxes, Quarterly Fees, and Insurance Costs Go UP, UP, UP!

I moved to sunny South Florida to get away from the cold. So, what happens? Global warming has Lancaster County Pennsylvania averaging eighteen degrees above normal. Samuel tells me they’ve had but one hard freeze so far this year, and most days are in the upper fifties to lower sixties. The daffodils are ready to bloom, and the cherry trees are blossoming. Of course, here in South Florida, it’s more like summer. Yesterday on my porch, in the shade it was 76 degrees, and last night the low was 71 degrees. The weather folks are promising the low 80’s the next several days. I won’t complain when it turns chilly. I PROMISE!

At the same time, my basic cost of living here has gone up 50% in one year. How absurd is that. Since the summer of Katrina and Wilma, my insurance on the interior of the condo went up a whopping 50%, and my quarterly condominium fees – they do outdoor maintenance, painting, lawn mowing, garden mulching, pool cleaning, pool bathroom cleaning (every blue moon) – went up 45%. My Palm Beach County Property tax also went up a whopping 40 %. The current system is designed to protect Florida's longtime middle class home owners, but penalizes her new middle class residents. All of this has happened in the one year since I moved in. The basic cost of having my two-bedroom condo in South Florida is over one-thousand-four-hundred-dollars per month, not including all other basic expenses, like medical insurance, electricity, telephone, food, and gas. Hell, Pine Needle Manor was only costing me one thousand a month in maintenance expense, and that was an apartment in a retirement community. I’m frustrated and I’m angry. I expected an incremental increase over time, but nothing like this one-year leap in living expense.

I listened to our new Governor, Charlie Crist’s inaugural address the other day and he said that something must be done about the escalating insurance costs, and profligate county government spending because it is forcing middle class citizens to leave the state. I hope he means what he says, but I can’t imagine any of these existing increases will be taken back.

I can’t afford to live here now!

It looks as though this major change in my life has been a major misadventure.

I have applied to homestead here so that when I sell the condo the Federal government cannot tax me on the proceeds, and I will begin a search for another location that is less expensive though not as warm as South Florida.

I was already feeling upset with Palm Beach County over that entrapment incident I reported concerning my heterosexual neighbor, a husband and father, who was detained and charged 100 dollars court costs for exposing himself when he went to take a leak in a public men’s room, forced to attend classes on the evils of homosexuality -It’s a social disease! - given maps, told he must not go into any downtown area in Palm Beach County until sometime in April or he will be arrested and sent to jail for sixty days. He was told that 1200 men have been put through this profiling juggernaut. He went to pee for God’s sake! Talk about county programs that cause profligate spending. Ah, well, I’ll stop there. Just go back and read the December 14, 2006 entry titled, “Danger in the Parks, Gay- Entrapment(?).”Also, read the two follow-up pieces, December seventeen and twenty that describe the social reasons for this kind of "police-state" activity.

It seems to me that the name of the game is “Save Palm Beach County for a certain type of rich person (sort of like the Bushes and Cheneys). Make the extremely poor servants of the rich even poorer so they’re willing to continue work in, around, and on the rich peoples homes, pay high rents for slum condos in Riviera Beach, and at the same time, force the new middle class arrivals out of the county, perhaps even the state.”

No, I’m not bitter!

I did go for a walk on the beach last evening just before sunset, and I include a picture here. I can certainly understand why the rich, Republican, fascist types want to have all this beauty for themselves.

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