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The Grass Not Always Greener

Editor, News-Register:

Many people believe that the grass is always greener on the other side. That is not always true. Consider the case of the two women who left West Virginia hoping to find greener pastures. One moved to St. Petersburg, Florida while the other moved to Oakland, California. They were featured in the Wheeling newspapers on Monday, May 24th in a story titled, “West Virginia lost bigger share of population than any state.”

Let’s compare some average statistics of West Virginia compared to these two cities.

Apartment rental average in West Virginia for 1,232 square feet of space is $975 a month. (Home snacks.com) Downtown Saint Petersburg is $2,033 per month. (Zumper.com). And Oakland is $2,686 per month. (Rent Cafe’)

Sales tax average for every ZIP Code in West Virginia is 6.115%. Sales tax in St. Petersburg is 7%. And sales tax in Oakland is 9.25%.

The crime rate in West Virginia is 3.17 crimes per 1,000 residents (neighborhood scout). The crime rate in St. Petersburg is 39 per 1,000 residents — one of the highest crime rates in America compared to communities of all sizes (google). And from Wikipedia, Oakland is listed as one of the most dangerous large cities in the United States. Total violent crimes 1,273, total property crimes 5,390.

Now let’s look at the cost of owning a home. Average home value in West Virginia is $107,064, the lowest in the nation. The median property tax in West Virginia is $464 per year for a home worth $94,500. Highest median tax is Jefferson County at $1,379 per year. The lowest is Webster County at $235 per year. West Virginia has one of the lowest median property taxes in the United States. In St. Petersburg the median home cost is $290,000. Median property tax is $1,699. (Redfin.com tax-rates.org). In Oakland the median home value is $627,800, and the median property tax is $5,172.

While West Virginians spend very little time in traffic, unless there is road construction, St. Petersburg and Oakland are in large, densely populated areas. Oakland ranked fourth as one of the worst cities to drive in. (Mercury News, 2019).

The woman who moved to Oakland claimed that there is nothing to do in West Virginia. Of course there are tons of things to do in our beautiful mountain state. Sure, Florida is a nice place to visit in the winter, but if you live there in the summer, you will most likely be doing a turkey trot from your air-conditioned car to your air-conditioned house. Yes, the heat and humidity are that oppressive there.

We live in a wonderful and beautiful state! Let’s start talking and printing more positive things about it.

Richard Armstrong



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