Kiplinger: Ellicott City among top 10 communties in nation

Selection by Kiplinger.com is second recent national mention

August 31, 2010|By Larry Carson, The Baltimore Sun

For the second time this summer, Ellicott City has been selected by a national publication as one of the nation's top communities.

The Howard County suburb was named this time as one of the top 10 places to raise a family by Kiplinger.com. Along with Columbia, Ellicott City in July was ranked second in the nation as a place to live by Money Magazine, a rating County Executive Ken Ulman jokes that he tells people at least a dozen times every day as he runs for re-election. County Councilwoman Courtney Watson, a fellow Democrat also seeking re-election, was happy about the latest news.

"We are one of the 10 best places because we focus on great schools and having a top-rated school system without raising taxes," she said. The lists are "an affirmation of all we're working for," she added. Howard's tax rates have not risen in the last four years, though many homeowners pay more property taxes each July as their annual bills catch up with their home assessments under Maryland's assessment cap system. Water rates have also increased across the area.

In fact, Kiplinger agreed that Ellicott City, along with the other communities mentioned, were chosen for their good schools, healthy economies, job growth, vibrant local culture, low crime and good parks and recreational programs. Howard County's unemployment rate is just over half the national rate of 9.5 percent, and federal defense jobs are starting to stream into the region. But Ellicott City also has some bad points, like high housing prices, and heavy commuter traffic because of its location between Baltimore and Washington, the magazine said.

Other places that made the list, which was not a ranking, were Ann Arbor, Mich.; College Station, Texas; Kennewick, Wash.; Huntsville, Ala.; Madison, Wis.; Pocatello, Idaho; Rochester, Minn.; West Hartford, Conn.; and Raleigh, N.C.

larry.carson@baltsun.com

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