The 2015 Utah's Freest Cities Ranking

Sandy (48/50)(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 (47/50)

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

Metric Rank Category Weight Description Reference
Code Accessiblity4910%This city does not have its entire set of laws posted online for citizens to review.PDF document format (missing most titles including criminal code with some chapters in non-searchable image format)
Dog Licensing1810%Depending on whether the dog is fixed or not and the length of the license you purchase, licensing fees for each dog ranges from $3. to $45.Link
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.7-7-15(b), Reservation application
Campaign Contribution Limits110%This city does not regulate free speech by imposing a limit on campaign contributions for city elections
Loitering3110%The loitering laws in this city prohibit loitering on school grounds without lawful business.7-8-30
Violation of Ordinances1110%While some ordinances may impose a specific penalty, in Sandy 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 $1,000.1-1-3, County
Gun Regulation4015%Under authority granted from state law, Sandy has chosen to regulate the discharge of firearms in city limits with no exceptions for self-defense or other lawful uses made explicit in code.7-9-14

Private Property (34/50)

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

Metric Rank Category Weight Description Reference
Conditional Use Permit Fees710%The cost of a conditional use permit is $100. Additionally, the city may charge a fee of $55 for site plan review.Fee Schedule
Home Building Fees2110%The total cost of permit fees for building a typical single family home is $7,563. This includes $1,834 in permit fees, $4,538 in impact fees, $1,191 in site plan approval fees, and no plan check fees.Per city staff
Animal Restrictions4015%Chickens are permitted in at least one residential zone. Beehives are not permitted in residential zones. Assuming a lot size of 0.15 acres, this city only allows you to have 2 dogs, allows 10 chickens, and no beehives.Per city staff, 15A-11-03, Per city staff (only allowed in Agriculture zones)
Short-term Rentals1715%This city prohibits property owners from renting their residential property on a short-term basis as is often done through services like Airbnb and VRBO.Per city staff
Taxes & Cost of Government2030%The cost of government in Sandy as a share of the total taxable economic base is $75 per $10,000. As a share of total personal income, the cost is $332 per $10,000. On a per capita basis, the cost is $690. The city gets 13% of its tax revenue from property taxes, 32% of its tax revenue from sales tax, and 56% from other sources including fees and fines.City Financial Statements
Bonded Debt2115%The city does not have any general obligation debt. However, if counting revenue bonds, the city's debt limit utilization would be 6.82%.City Financial Statements
Lobbying505%During the past two years, Sandy has spent an average of $265,000 each year to hire lobbyists to represent the city.Per Records Request

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

Free Enterprise (48/50)

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

Metric Rank Category Weight Description Reference
City-owned Enterprises4115%This city owns 6 enterprises that could instead be offered by the private market: a redevelopment agency; an electric power company; a golf course; a reception/event center; a fitness center; a theater; City Financial Statements
Beer Sale Restrictions2110%This city regulates the retail sale of beer by prohibiting sales from 1am to 7am.5-2-24
Alcohol Licensing3010%The city requires $108 for a retail beer license, $492 for a restaurant license, and $520 for a tavern license.City Fee Schedule
Sales Tax4820%This city imposes a combined sales tax rate of 6.85% on its citizens. Additionally, residents are required to pay a RAP tax at the rate of 0.1%. The city also has a municipal energy tax rate of 6.0%, a transient room tax at 6.25%, and a leasing tax at 7.5%.State Tax Commission
Business Licensing4435%This city charges the following licensing fees: $136 for a home occupation license; $134 for a small commercial license; $6520 for a large commercial license; $150 for a temporary firework stand; $150 for a temporary christmas tree lot.City Fee Schedule
Commerce Regulations4610%In Sandy, dance halls must be closed between 1am and 6am, and all day Sunday. It is also unlawful to sell at auction "any gold, silver, plated ware, clocks, watches, oriental rugs or rugs purported to be from the Middle East or eastern part of the world, diamonds or other precious or semi-precious stones or any imitation thereof, glassware, china, linens, or jewelry or any article purporting to be or represented as any of the above articles between the hours of 6pm and 8am of the following day." No visitors for home occupations are allowed between 10pm and 6am. Conventions must closed at midnight, Sunday through Thursday, and 1am on Friday and Saturday5-7-8

City Data

Overall Ranking: 48/50

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

Year incorporated: 1893
Population (2010): 87,461
FoG: Council-Mayor

County: Salt Lake
Class: 2
Cluster: A

MHI: $76,904.00

Best Score

Campaign Contribution Limits

Worst Score