Group releases Cost of Living Report
Yellow Springs residents pay more in taxes than residents of some comparable
towns, but local plumbers are a bargain. And even though the villages
houses cost significantly more than houses in neighboring towns, renters
here pay less, and utility costs fall right in line with those of other
In short, some things about living in Yellow Springs cost more than living
in comparable areas and some things cost less, according to the recently
completed Yellow Springs Cost of Living Report, which was
sponsored by the Mens Group. The report is available at 11 locations
in Yellow Springs, including the Yellow Springs Library, and online at
the Mens Group Web site, www.45387.org.
The report also looks at changes in village demographics, painting a picture
of Yellow Springs residents as considerably older, richer and better educated
than they were 30 years ago. And with those changes, according to the
report, Yellow Springs racial diversity has declined.
The Mens Group will present the report at a public forum next Thursday,
Dec. 5, 79 p.m., at the Senior Center. Everyone is invited, and
opportunities will be provided for questions or comments.
The report began with a concern that recent local controversies involved
assumptions regarding the costs of living here, but people had few actual
facts about those costs.
We had a lot of differences of opinions but not a lot of information,
said Mens Group member Ron Schmidt, one of the projects organizers.
We said, Lets get some information.
Now that the information has been collected, Schmidt and other organizers
shy away from drawing conclusions. Rather, he said, the information is
available for local residents to ponder and analyze as they see fit.
We tried hard to produce an objective body of information,
he said. Were not going to interpret it. A lot of things are
interesting. In some cases were more different than we thought and
in some cases less. Our hope is that there will be lots of community dialogue
The project received funding from the Yellow Springs Community Foundation
and The Antioch Company Charitable Contributions Program, and about 30
local volunteers helped gather the information. Because the Mens
Group sought professional methodology for the project, they hired Wright
State Universitys Center for Urban and Public Affairs to direct
the project, which also drew information from 2000 census statistics.
The report compares Yellow Springs demographics and expenses with those
of Bellbrook, Cedarville, Enon, Germantown, Tipp City and Waynesville,
communities considered comparable in location, geography and socioeconomic
In terms of the total rate of local property taxes, Yellow Springs residents
pay more taxes than the other municipalities with the exception of Bellbrook.
Villagers pay a total rate of 90.68 mills in property tax compared to
Bellbrook, 95.98, Cedarville, 59.13, Enon, 68.11, Germantown, 70.32, Tipp
City, 61.61, and Waynesville, 74.03. The total tax rate includes all levies,
including those for schools, the county and townships, and health and
other service issues. A mill is $1 for each $1,000 of taxable value.
However, the differences in tax rates narrow when the effective tax rate
of property taxes is considered, which includes all tax reduction factors.
For the local property taxes effective rate, Yellow Springs residents
pay an average of 55.77 mills annually, less than the 59.54 paid by Bellbrook
residents but more than the people of Enon (48.75), Waynesville (48.35),
Germantown (46.63), Cedarville (44.47) and Tipp City (38.86).
Villagers also pay the highest rate of municipal income tax, 1.5 percent,
compared with a 1 percent tax for Cedarville residents. Bellbrook, Enon,
Germantown, Tipp City and Waynesville residents do not pay income taxes.
Yellow Springs and Cedarville residents also pay a 1 percent school income
tax. Again, residents of Bellbrook, Enon, Germantown, Tipp City and Waynesville
do not pay school income taxes.
State and local sales tax rates are similar for all of the towns, with
the highest rate, 6.5 percent, paid by residents of Enon and Germantown,
and a 6 percent rate for the others.
The cost of Yellow Springs utilities ranks in the middle of the group.
The average monthly utility bill here is $360.48, compared to $429.40
for Bellbrook utilities, $466.89 for Cedarville, $366.18 for Germantown
residents, $361.05 for Waynesville, $287.29 for Enon and $285.03 for Tipp
The monthly Village electricity cost came in lowest of all seven municipalities,
at $134, compared to $209 for Bellbrook, Cedarville, Germantown and Waynesville
residents, $242 for Enon residents and $180 for those of Tipp City. Water
and sewer rates in Yellow Springs were less than those of Cedarville and
comparable to Bellbrook, but higher than rates in the other towns. Yellow
Springs solid waste rates were less than those of Enon and Tipp City,
but higher than those of Bellbrook, Cedarville, Germantown and Waynesville.
Housing costs in Yellow Springs are a mixed bag, with the average house
valued at $151,600, based on 2000 census figures. That average price looms
$20,000 above its closest competitor, Bellbrook, at $131,200, then Tipp
City, $129,400, Waynesville, $127,600, Enon, $125,700, and Cedarville,
Although housing prices are highest in Yellow Springs, median monthly
mortgage payments fall in line with those of the other municipalities,
according to 2000 census figures. The village average mortgage payment
of $1,132 compares with the Bellbrook average of $1,240, Waynesvilles
$1,085 and Tipp Citys median mortgage payment of $1,073.
And though the cost of buying in Yellow Springs is high, the cost of renting
is surprisingly low compared to the other towns. The average monthly rent
in Yellow Springs, $506, compares with Bellbrooks $777, Germantowns
$526, Waynesvilles $532, Tipp Citys $524, Enons $476
and Cedarvilles $447.
The report also shows that housing prices in town have risen considerably
over the years. In 1970 the median housing value was $21,400, in 1980,
it was $51,000, and in 1990 it was $78,800.
In terms of health services, villagers pay $70 per doctors visit,
versus $65 in Bellbrook and Waynesville, $59 in Germantown and Tipp City,
$56 in Enon and $51 in Cedarville. To go to the dentist, Yellow Springs
residents pay an average of $73 compared with $89 in Tipp City, $82 in
Enon, $76 in Cedarville and $71 in Germantown.
Yellow Springs residents pay an average amount for auto repair services.
At $10 the average car repair bill (the amount to spin-balance one front
wheel) is lower than the $15 paid by Waynesville residents for the same
service, and the $10.48 paid by those in Tipp City and $10.33 in Bellbrook.
Enon residents pay $8 while those in Cedarville pay $7.50. Local plumbers
charge significantly less than their competition: $48 for a service call,
compared to $94.50 in Tipp City, $65 in Enon and $55 in Waynesville.
However, villagers pay top dollar for hair cuts compared with the other
towns. Barber shop appointments (for men) cost $22 compared to $11 in
Enon and Cedarville and $9 in Tipp City. Beauty shop appointments (for
women) cost $25, compared to $24 in Waynesville, $22.50 in Tipp City and
$16.50 in Cedarville.
A comparison of food prices in the seven municipalities reveals little
variation in prices, with Yellow Springs residents paying $101.61 for
a group of miscellaneous grocery items that were priced at $102.59 in
Tipp City, $101.55 in Waynesville, $100.86 in Germantown, $98.23 in Bellbrook,
$98.69 in Enon and $90.75 in Cedarville.
According to demographic information in the report, the Yellow Springs
residents buying that food are considerably older, richer and better educated
than were residents 30 years ago and those in the six other towns.
While the average age of a Yellow Springs resident was 22.7 in 1970, todays
average villager is 41.4 years old. The median household income has increased
from $13,476 in 1970 to $51,984 today. While 12 percent of local residents
in 1970 made an income below the poverty level, only 7 percent of todays
villagers fall into that category.
Twice as many professional people live in Yellow Springs compared to the
rest of the state, with 60.3 percent of villagers working in professional
occupations, compared with the statewide figure of 31 percent. People
who work in sales and service jobs make up 27.1 percent of local residents,
construction and production, 12.1 percent, and farming, 0.6 percent.
Almost 60 percent of villagers have had some post-college-graduate education,
compared with 21 percent of adults statewide.
About 23 percent of villagers identified themselves as people of color
in the 2000 census, compared with 27.8 percent in 1970. The numbers of
African Americans declined from 26 percent in 1970 to 15 percent in 2000,
although some of that change may be linked to the addition of a new category
in the 2000 census people who identified themselves as of mixed
racial background. Almost 6 percent of villagers said they belonged to
Overall, the total population in Yellow Springs declined almost 20 percent
in the past 30 years, from 4,624 in 1970 to 3,76l in 2000, according to