The 2015 Utah's Freest Cities Ranking

West Valley City (43/50)(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 (18/50)

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

Metric Rank Category Weight Description Reference
Code Accessiblity3510%This city's laws are available online and in a searchable PDF document.PDF document format
Dog Licensing1110%Depending on whether the dog is fixed or not and the length of the license you purchase, licensing fees for each dog ranges from $5. to $35.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.21-6-104, 4-1-128
Campaign Contribution Limits110%This city does not regulate free speech by imposing a limit on campaign contributions for city elections
Loitering1810%The loitering laws in this city prohibit prostitutes, pimps, procurers, or gamblers from being allowed to loiter in restaurants.17-9-104
Violation of Ordinances1110%While some ordinances may impose a specific penalty, in West Valley City 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.County
Gun Regulation815%Under authority granted from state law, West Valley City has chosen to regulate the discharge of firearms in city limits; however, the city's law does make an exception for self-defense.21-4-04(2), 21-4-04(3)(a), 21-6-103(2)(f)

Private Property (32/50)

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

Metric Rank Category Weight Description Reference
Conditional Use Permit Fees2010%The cost of a conditional use permit is $200 (plus $50 per additional acre).Permit application
Home Building Fees910%The total cost of permit fees for building a typical single family home is $4,384. This includes $1,834 in permit fees, $2,050 in impact fees, $500 in site plan approval fees, and no plan check fees.Per city staff
Animal Restrictions4615%Chickens are permitted in at least one residential zone with a $20 permit. 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 4 chickens, and no beehives.23-1-02, 7-1-103(103); 23-3, 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 Government4830%The cost of government in West Valley City as a share of the total taxable economic base is $123 per $10,000. As a share of total personal income, the cost is $547 per $10,000. On a per capita basis, the cost is $655. The city gets 41% of its tax revenue from property taxes, 24% of its tax revenue from sales tax, and 35% from other sources including fees and fines.City Financial Statements
Bonded Debt3315%The city does not have any general obligation debt. However, if counting revenue bonds, the city's debt limit utilization would be 11.91%.City Financial Statements
Lobbying425%During the past two years, West Valley City has spent an average of $51,662 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 (50/50)

The final category includes 35 different data points in an effort to review West Valley City'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; a golf course; a reception/event center; a fitness center; a sports arena; a theater; City Financial Statements
Beer Sale Restrictions2110%This city regulates the retail sale of beer by prohibiting sales from 1 am to 7 am .17-2-115
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 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 Licensing4835%This city charges the following licensing fees: $110 for a home occupation license; $200 for a small commercial license; $6960 for a large commercial license; $110 for a temporary firework stand; $111 for a temporary christmas tree lot. The city also has a Good Landlord program that reduces the high per-unit rental fees if landlords comply with additional city regulations, which includes restrictions on who the landlord can rent his or her property to.City Fee Schedule
Commerce Regulations2310%In West Valley City, seasonal businesses (Christmas tree lots, fireworks stands, shaved ice, produce, etc.) must be closed from 9pm to 8am. Home occupations may only operate between 6am and 10pm. Businesses may not employ minors after 1am. Food vendors (carts, vehicles, etc.) must be closed from midnight to 7am. Pawn shops must be closed from 10pm to 7am.7-2-116(3)(a)

City Data

Overall Ranking: 43/50

Click here to compare West Valley City's data compared to the other cities.

Year incorporated: 1980
Population (2010): 129,480
FoG: Council-Manager

County: Salt Lake
Class: 1
Cluster: A

MHI: $52,389.00

Best Score

Free Speech

Worst Score

Sales Tax