The 2015 Utah's Freest Cities Ranking

Washington (41/50)(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 (28/50)

This category compiles scores on 17 different data points to determine how well Washington 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.Sterling Codifiers database
Dog Licensing4810%Depending on whether the dog is fixed or not and the length of the license you purchase, licensing fees for each dog ranges from $12. to $40.Link
Free Speech115%This city does not require a permit to stage a protest on public property.Per city staff
Daytime Curfew110%This city does not impose a daytime curfew on minors.
Vice Regulation910%This city exceeds the regulations of state law on public consumption of alcohol by prohibiting beer in a list of public places. However, there are no regulations on smoking in outdoor areas.6-5-1(A)
Campaign Contribution Limits110%This city does not regulate free speech by imposing a limit on campaign contributions for city elections
Loitering2810%The loitering laws in this city prohibit loitering in parks between 10:00pm and 6:00am and loitering for the purpose of getting something from a passerby (considered a nuisance).5-2A-2(a), 5-3-3B(33)(m)
Violation of Ordinances1110%While some ordinances may impose a specific penalty, in Washington 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.
Gun Regulation4715%Under authority granted from state law, Washington 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. The city's law also has additional provisions regulating firearms that may be inconsistent with state and federal law. This includes:
• Carrying a loaded firearm while operating an off highway vehicle is prohibited.
5-2B-1(A), 5-2F-4(k)

Private Property (45/50)

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

Metric Rank Category Weight Description Reference
Conditional Use Permit Fees3610%The cost of a conditional use permit is $300 (plus $50 per additional acre).Permit application
Home Building Fees4810%The total cost of permit fees for building a typical single family home is $14,510. This includes $1,338 in permit fees, $13,172 in impact fees, no 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, allows 0 chickens, and does not limit the number of beehives.9-1-6, 9-8-B2
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.9-8B-2(D)
Taxes & Cost of Government3330%The cost of government in Washington as a share of the total taxable economic base is $95 per $10,000. As a share of total personal income, the cost is $484 per $10,000. On a per capita basis, the cost is $674. The city gets 21% of its tax revenue from property taxes, 28% of its tax revenue from sales tax, and 52% from other sources including fees and fines.City Financial Statements
Bonded Debt4415%The city is currently utilizing 4.09% of thier debt limit for general obligation bonds; however, if calculated for all bonds (including revenue bonds), the utilization would be 18.55%.City Financial Statements
Lobbying15%This city does not employ lobbyists to represent the city.City expense data

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

Free Enterprise (29/50)

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

Metric Rank Category Weight Description Reference
City-owned Enterprises4615%This city owns 7 enterprises that could instead be offered by the private market: an electric power company; a garbage collection service; a recycling service; a golf course; a reception/event center; a fitness center; a water park; City Financial Statements
Beer Sale Restrictions1010%This city regulates the retail sale of beer by prohibiting sales from 1 am to 5 am .3-2-12
Alcohol Licensing4510%The city requires $500 for a retail beer license, $500 for a restaurant license, and $500 for a tavern license.City Fee Schedule
Sales Tax920%This city imposes a combined sales tax rate of 6.35% 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 4.25%, and a leasing tax at 7.5%.State Tax Commission
Business Licensing1035%This city charges the following licensing fees: $50 for a home occupation license; $80 for a small commercial license; $350 for a large commercial license; $50 for a temporary firework stand; $50 for a temporary christmas tree lot; and $195 for two solicitor licenses.City Fee Schedule
Commerce Regulations2010%Washington prohibits excavations on Sunday, and pawn brokers must close from 7pm to 7am each day.3-9-6
, 9.12C.7(e)

City Data

Overall Ranking: 41/50

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

Year incorporated: 1857
Population (2010): 18,761
FoG: Six-member Council

County: Washington
Class: 4
Cluster: B

MHI: $48,222.00

Best Score

Free Speech

Worst Score

Home Building Fees