The 2015 Utah's Freest Cities Ranking

Highland (37/50)(1 is most free, 50 is least free)

To learn what the below scores mean and how they were calculated, read our ranking methodology.

Individual Liberty (16/50)

This category compiles scores on 17 different data points to determine how well Highland respects and protects the liberty of its citizens.

Metric Rank Category Weight Description Reference
Code Accessiblity110%This city uses an online, easily navigable and searchable database for its city laws.Municode database
Dog Licensing3310%Depending on whether the dog is fixed or not and the length of the license you purchase, licensing fees for each dog ranges from $11.66 to $35.Utah Valley Animal Shelter
Free Speech115%This city does not require a permit to stage a protest on public property.
Daytime Curfew110%This city does not impose a daytime curfew on minors.
Vice Regulation3410%This city exceeds the regulations of state law on public consumption of alcohol by prohibiting beer in all public places. Smoking is also prohibited in certain outdoor areas.12-24-040, Utah County regulation
Campaign Contribution Limits110%This city does not regulate free speech by imposing a limit on campaign contributions for city elections
Loitering4810%The loitering laws in this city prohibit loitering on school grounds and in a public park.9-08-030, 12-24-030
Violation of Ordinances1110%While some ordinances may impose a specific penalty, in Highland the default penalty for a violation of any city ordinance, if not specified, is a class B misdemeanor which carries a fine of up to $1,000.1-12-010, 1-12-030
Gun Regulation115%Highland does not have an ordinance that specifically regulates the discharge of firearms in city limits.12-24-030

Private Property (23/50)

63 different data points are included in this category to discern the degree to which Highland respects and protects private property rights.

Metric Rank Category Weight Description Reference
Conditional Use Permit Fees4110%The cost of a conditional use permit is $485.Permit application
Home Building Fees5010%The total cost of permit fees for building a typical single family home is $24,988. This includes $3,621 in permit fees, $20,464 in impact fees, $903 in site plan approval fees, and no plan check fees.Per city staff
Animal Restrictions1815%Chickens are permitted in at least one residential zone. Beehives are permitted in residential zones without a permit. Assuming a lot size of 0.15 acres, this city only allows you to have 2 dogs, no chickens, and does not limit the number of beehives.6-12-010, Dev Code 3-4102, Per city staff
Short-term Rentals115%While some cities in Utah prohibit using services like Airbnb and VRBO to rent property, this city has no ordinance regulating or explicitly prohibiting property owners from doing so.Per city staff
Taxes & Cost of Government1330%The cost of government in Highland as a share of the total taxable economic base is $59 per $10,000. As a share of total personal income, the cost is $212 per $10,000. On a per capita basis, the cost is $484. The city gets 22% of its tax revenue from property taxes, 22% of its tax revenue from sales tax, and 57% from other sources including fees and fines.City Financial Statements
Bonded Debt2815%The city is currently utilizing 1.73% of thier debt limit for general obligation bonds; however, if calculated for all bonds (including revenue bonds), the utilization would be 7.71%.City Financial Statements
Lobbying15%This city does not employ lobbyists to represent the city.Per Records Request

This city also has restrictive land use ordinances that violate property rights.

Free Enterprise (43/50)

The final category includes 35 different data points in an effort to review Highland's protection—or violation—of the free market.

Metric Rank Category Weight Description Reference
City-owned Enterprises115%This city does not own any enterprises that compete with the private market.City Financial Statements
Beer Sale Restrictions5010%Beer sales are completely banned by the city.5-12-020
Alcohol Licensing5010%Alcohol sales are prohibited in Highland (with the exception of some grandfathered businesses) and thus offers no licenses to permit their legal sale.City Fee Schedule
Sales Tax1320%This city imposes a combined sales tax rate of 6.75% on its citizens. The city also has a municipal energy tax rate of 6.0%, a transient room tax at 4.25%, and a leasing tax at 7.5%.State Tax Commission
Business Licensing2535%This city charges the following licensing fees: $90 for a home occupation license; $125 for a small commercial license; $125 for a large commercial license; $225 for a temporary firework stand; $225 for a temporary christmas tree lot; and $100 for two solicitor licenses.City Fee Schedule
Commerce Regulations4610%Highland requires all businesses to be closed between midnight and 6am each day, and all day on Sunday. Model homes may operate only between 7am and 9pm. Professional office buildings may not operate parking lot lighting between 11pm and 6am. Businesses operating on temporary use permits may not be open between 11pm and 7am. And lighted signs of any kind may not be illuminated between midnight and 6am.3-4108(11)(g)
, 5.04.170

City Data

Overall Ranking: 37/50

Click here to compare Highland's data compared to the other cities.

Year incorporated: 1977
Population (2010): 15,523
FoG: Council-Mayor

County: Utah
Class: 4
Cluster: E

MHI: $105,944.0

Best Score

Gun Regulation

Worst Score

Alcohol Licensing