Well, Daisy and I have pulled the trigger and begun the change of residence from South Dakota to FL. We decided this after a long drawn out process of review, budget and benefits. What started the process was actually some benefits of being FL residents rather than cost savings.
As a Florida resident we have access to the amusement parks at a discounted rate on the annual passes. We have friends who live down here. We could vote. Voting became an issue when we didn’t take the time in SD to complete the voting registration process. SD requires a different registration process than PA or FL. You have to go to another office and frankly, we didn’t think of it at the time. Finally, we are thinking of getting a hand gun and to do so as SD residents we would have to return to SD to purchase and get our concealed carry permits.
Once we decided to look into FL as our residences, we also found that the tags would be MUCH cheaper after the first year. Our drivers licenses are also cheaper per year and last for 8 years. Insurance was a little more expensive. But in the end the total package was less expensive. SD increased the tags on the RV to $540 per year while FL is about $65. When we looked at all of the cost for transferring our stuff to FL, it will save us about $350 a year. FL does however, charge a good size fee to register the vehicles the first year. It runs about $225 per vehicle. So it will take a couple of years to see any savings.
Getting the Drivers Licenses was a hassle. FL used to have County and State offices for DMV. They both would register and issue DL to anyone. Over the last couple of years, due to budget cuts, the County offices only issue DL to county residents. So we took a trip to Sarasota, FL on Tuesday and got our DL.
In order to have a FL drivers license you need to have a FL address. There are several companies in FL just like SD that offer mail forwarding services. Choosing one for us was a matter of being able to get to that county to get our drivers licenses and the costs of the services. At first we were going to use Escapees. But the mail service and cost left things to be desired. Then the time required to set it up was longer than we wanted to wait. You have to send them via snail mail the forms then they would set up a mail box in TX for you. Than you can use the FL address to get your drivers licenses. All mail was received in FL, mailed to TX and then mailed to where ever you wanted it. All at an additional cost. I called and talked to Nato Mail and everything was done over the phone with followup via email. Nato Mail was also cheaper to set up and on an annual basis.
So as of Tuesday, we have a FL address, FL drivers licenses and can vote in the up coming elections. We still have to register the vehicles and get insurance. We will do that in Feb.
We also found out that Universal Studios offers FL residents an annual pass. But the great news was we could trade in our military 3 day pass and pay the difference for the annual pass. So for less than $200 both Daisy and I got annual passes to Universal Studios!
Our stay here in FL is going to be longer than we expected, but at least now we have something to do while we wait for the Veterans Administration to schedule all of my appointments, make a determination as to the level of disability and then go through the appeals process.