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Oxford: A Certified Retirement Community with All the Fixins

Retirement for most people is a new beginning, a new way of life. Choosing whether or not to relocate and selecting the ideal city or region to retire in is always a top priority.
Rosie 1Rosie Vassallo is the director of the Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Foundation’s Retirement Attraction Program. She said that the number one reason people move to retirement communities such as Oxford is because of their families.
“In today’s world being close to your family has become even more of a priority. In addition, destinations that cater to smaller children with an abundance of activities are prime locations. This makes it more fun for them to want to visit their grandparents,” Vassallo said.
Some might call the city of Oxford a best kept secret when it comes to retirement, she said, but that was changing.
“Through the University of Mississippi, alums are consistently moving home to their alma mater,” she said. “And another major source of advertising is the State’s Hometown Retiree Attraction Program that continues to market its 20 certified cities through retirement publications and recruiting trade shows as great places to live.”
And between Ole Miss and the cultural ambience the city has to offer, Vassallo believes it’s a win/win situation for both retirees and the city of Oxford.
“Oxford, regarded as a center for southern arts, culture and literature, is best known first and foremost for Ole Miss, the University of Mississippi, accompanied with its strong literary climate through distinguished writers from John Grisham to William Faulkner, thus hosting two international literary conferences annually,” she said. “The University’s relationship with Oxford residents is second to none, consequently sharing their calendar of events to the public. Every semester and during the summer months the University offers retirees enrollment in one academic course of up to four credits per semester tuition-free, in addition they can take as many noncredit short courses as they like at a 10 percent discount on any course with a fee of $30 or more. It’s just great for our retirees and our community.”
Rosie 3Vassallo said another allure of Oxford as the perfect place to retire was the city’s cost of living.
“The cost of living is as attractive as the local scenery,” she said. “Oxford is approximately 10 percent below the national average and overall housing costs are about 20 percent below the national average. Subdivisions on all sides of town have homes priced from $89,000 to 1.5 million.”
Vassallo added another enticement for seniors was a special tax exemption.
“Individuals age 65 or over qualify for a special tax exemption for their primary residence,” she said. “The first $75,000 of true value on a declared homestead is exempt from local property taxes. All certified retirement income is exempt from Mississippi state tax.”
Excellent health care is just one more added benefit when it comes to choosing Oxford as a retirement location.
rosie 2“Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi in Oxford is a 217-bed acute care facility serving the northern third of Mississippi,” Vassallo said. “One of the fastest growing hospitals in the region, Baptist North Mississippi has more than 100 medical and surgical specialists representing more than 30 specialty areas such as cardiology, radiation oncology and neurosurgery. And this is another important aspect people consider when looking for their retirement city.”
Vassallo said Oxford was one of the first cities to be certified by The Mississippi’s Hometown Retirement Program.
“This designation is attained through a 3-month intensive screening process that ensures that the features most sought by retirees are offered, including an affordable cost of living, low taxes, low crime rate, quality medical care, recreational opportunities, continuing education, cultural opportunities, and a warm, welcoming community,” Vassallo said. “Certification means that the State will advertise, market, promote, approve grant monies, etc. for only those cities that are certified by the State, and, that that city meets the criteria set forth in the guidelines.”
Angela Rogalski is a HottyToddy.com staff reporter and can be reached at angela.rogalski@hottytoddy.com.

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