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Retiring in Paris, Tennessee

For the second time in three years, Paris has been listed as one of the entries in a book titled

America's 100 Best Places to Retire.  This is the third edition of the book, prepared by the

editors of Where to Retire magazine.  The magazine's editors and writers visited hundreds of

cities and towns across the United States before selecting 100 places for their superior quality

of retirement living. 


The choices include designations of the 10 best art towns, budget towns, lake towns, beach towns,

college towns, mountain towns, small towns, undiscovered towns, four season towns and Main

Street towns.  Vacation Publications, which published the book, says it offers accurate and reliable

information on population, climate, cost of living, housing costs, taxes and healthcare.  The book

also includes interviews with retirees who have moved to each of the towns. Hundreds of those

retirees share what they like and don't like about their new hometowns.


Paris made the top 10 rankings in Southeast region in the following categories: low cost Eden,

undiscovered haven, best lake town and best undiscovered town.  Paris is one of two Tennessee

cities to make the list. Maryville is the other. Both also made the list in 2000.  Of the 100 cities

listed in the book, 26 are in Florida and 10 are in North Carolina.

 - Paris Post Intelligencer 2002


Paris Makes Web retirement

Paris has again been named one of the nation's top retirement destinations by a national retirement

Web site. recently listed Paris as no. 4 on its list of top 25 retirement communities.


Another Tennessee community, Crossville, was no. 25.


Galia Greer, of the Paris Henry County Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber was "tickled

to death" at the community's placement.


"It's an e-mail newsletter that goes out, but it is viewed by lots of people," Greer said of the

Web site.  "The state's tickled that we were on it."


Greer said she was notified of Paris' placement by Ramay Winchester, an economic

development specialist with the state's Department of Economic and Community Development.


 "An active adult lifestyle is easy here, and there (are) a variety of affordable retirement

community options," the site's review of Paris stated.  "The mild climate makes this an

ideal place to live in retirement."


TopRetirements listed the lakeside and outdoor lifestyle, active downtown area, low

cost of living, and close proximity to Nashville and Memphis as some of the benefits

enjoyed by local retirees.


Placing first on the list was Ashville, N.C., while Sarasota, Fla. and Prescott, Ariz. came

 in second and third, respectively.


"We're probably the smallest community that was listed," Greer said.


The so-called "Sun Belt states" accounted for the majority of communities chosen, with

only three communities north of the Mason-Dixon line making the list.


Arizona had the most communities on the list at six.


Others including Florida, four; North Carolina, three; California and Texas, two apiece;

and Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, Connecticut, Ohio and Canada, one each.


Paris and Henry County have been listed several times in the last few years on various

"best places to retire" list.


- Paris Post Intelligencer, 2008


Rural Tennessee


Figures show most people live in or near big cities


If you’ve always considered Tennessee a dominantly rural state, think again.  Almost

three out of every four people in the Volunteer State live in metropolitan areas – cities

or their bedroom communities.  An additional 15 percent live in what the Census

Bureau has newly defined as “micropolitan” areas.  These are places like Henry

County that exist independently of cities but have as their hub a town of 10,000 or

more people.  The remaining 11 percent live in a truly rural counties, like our neighbors,

Weakley, Carroll and Benton.  (Stewart County doesn’t qualify because it’s viewed

as part of the Clarksville metropolitan area.)


What that distinction means in practical terms is hard to tell.  Industrial developers hope

it may have some impact for the 17 communities like Paris that have been call micropolitan. 

The Census Bureau’s definition of metropolitan and micropolitan areas is an attempt to

define community.  Certainly it goes beyond official city limits.  The extreme example is

the Nashville metropolitan statistical area, the state’s largest with 1.3 million people living

in 13 different counties, all with an economic umbilical cord to the state’s capital city. 

This kind of definition puts all of Henry County in the Paris micropolitan area.  With

a population newly estimated at 31,192, we’re the 25th largest statistical community in the state.


But statistics are just numbers.  It’s people that count, and the term “micropolitan”

isn’t going to be worth the proverbial hill of beans to most folks.  How the bean counters

divide us up will rarely be of significance, we suspect.


Since members of the state legislature are elected by districts rather than by Census

Bureau statistical areas, our General Assembly will likely continue to be dominated

by what is usually described as rural interests.  That’s interesting in light of the fact

that three out of four Tennessee residents are closely tied to our larger cities.


-June 19, 2003 – Paris Post Intelligencer

Paris picked 'tax heaven' for retirees

Paris has been named a tax-friendly city in a new book detailing the best and worst places

to retire in the United States.  The book, published by Vacation Publications, is titled Tax

Heaven or Hell and is available in stores.


Co-authors Alan Fox and Eve Evans compare and rank 149 major metropolitan areas and

towns according to state and local tax burdens on retirees.  “We were looking for geographic

dispersion,” Ms Evans said of the city selection process.


Paris was included in the book because it had been featured in Where to Retire magazine

as an undiscovered retirement haven in 1993, she said.  The basis of the book is in a survey

conducted by the magazine.  The magazine surveyed subscribers and found that the top five

 factors in choosing a retirement destination were a low crime rate, mild climate, good hospitals,

low cost of living and low taxes.  “To me, taxes are important considerations for retirees,” she

said.  The purpose of the book; Ms Evans said, is to provide retirees with the tax information

they need to make an informed decision about where to retire.  She added that tax information

is just one of the many factors retirees should consider.


In the book, the authors created nine combinations of different incomes and home values and

applied a city’s tax burden to each category.  The authors chose three representative income

levels from a survey of consumer’s age 65 and older conducted by the U. S. Department of

Labor.    After the incomes were selected, the authors then chose six different home values

between 50,000 and 250,000.  Then the home values and incomes were paired to create the

nine categories.  After the categories had been determined, the next step was to estimate the

total tax burden for each of the 149 cities chosen.  The tax burden includes state and local

income taxes, sales taxes, property taxes and fees retirees would incur if relocating across state lines.


In the book, each selected city has a chart detailing all the taxes due from each of the nine

categories and a written summation of the tax burden.


The book ranks the cities in each of the nine hypothetical situations.  Any city in the top 10

in one of the nine categories is dubbed a tax heaven.  The 10 worst cities in a given category

are tax hells.  Paris is listed as a tax heaven in two of the nine situations.  The city is No. 8 in

the $68,098 income/$150,000 home and the $68,098 income/$200,000 home categories.


What the results indicate, Ms. Evans said, is that retirees in higher income brackets are

better off settling in Paris because the tax rate is so favorable to them.  Retirees in lower

income brackets can still find a haven in Paris, she said, because the city’s total tax burden

is relatively mild.


Ramay Winchester, assistant executive director of the Paris-Henry County Chamber of

Commerce, said many things combined to make the area an ideal place to retire.  An

excellent medical center, affordable housing, low property taxes and low utility rates are

just some of the advantages of retiring in Paris, she said.  County Executive Herman Jackson

agreed, saying that Paris has much to offer such as golf courses, state parks and a quiet

community.  “There’s a lot to entice people to come to our community,” he said.  Jackson

said Paris’ high rankings in the book were very encouraging because the addition of

retirees to the community has a positive economic and social impact.


Retirees contribute to the area’s overall economic development, Jackson said.  In addition,

the senior citizens who retire in Paris and Henry County bring their expertise to the

community.  “They can make some real contributions to our community,” Jackson said. 

Henry County Office on Aging Director Kathy Teague echoed that sentiment.  She said

senior citizens can be ideal workers and can really benefit a city or county.


Ms. Teague, who has worked at the Office on Aging for 21 years, said being listed

in a book such as “Tax Heaven or Hell” is progress for the seniors of Henry County. 

“It’s good for the community,” she said.  “It shows we’re on the map.” 


Henry County has much to offer senior citizens, she said.  The parks, Office on Aging,

transportation programs and the opportunity to get involved make the area a good retirement

area.  According to “Tax Heaven or Hell,” Anchorage and Juneau, Alaska are the first and

second ranked tax heavens in all nine categories.  Other tax heavens include Nashville; Las

Vegas; Houston; Dallas; Baton Rouge, La; Naples, Fl; Gulf Shores and Fairhope, Ala. 

Cities bearing the designation of a tax hell include Topeka, Kan; Chicago; Des Moines,

Iowa; Pittsburgh; Omaha and Lincoln, Neb; and Milwaukee and Green Bay, Wis.

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