The 2015 Utah's Freest Cities Ranking

Orem (42/50)(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 (36/50)

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

Metric Rank Category Weight Description Reference
Code Accessiblity3210%This city's laws are posted online in a navigable and searchable PDF document.PDF document format (linked and searchable)
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.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.13-1-9, 13-1-10
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.9-2-1(c)
Violation of Ordinances1110%While some ordinances may impose a specific penalty, in Orem 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 $1,000.1-1-7, County
Gun Regulation815%Under authority granted from state law, Orem has chosen to regulate the discharge of firearms in city limits; however, the city's law does make an exception for self-defense.9-2-5

Private Property (27/50)

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

Metric Rank Category Weight Description Reference
Conditional Use Permit Fees1510%The cost of a conditional use permit is $200.Fee Schedule
Home Building Fees1410%The total cost of permit fees for building a typical single family home is $6,723. This includes $1,834 in permit fees, $3,698 in impact fees, $1,191 in site plan approval fees, and no plan check fees.Per city staff
Animal Restrictions2415%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 2 chickens, and 2 beehives.5-3, 22-6-10-C, 22-6-10L
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 Government3430%The cost of government in Orem as a share of the total taxable economic base is $99 per $10,000. As a share of total personal income, the cost is $443 per $10,000. On a per capita basis, the cost is $605. The city gets 20% of its tax revenue from property taxes, 35% of its tax revenue from sales tax, and 45% from other sources including fees and fines.City Financial Statements
Bonded Debt2915%The city is currently utilizing 1.77% of thier debt limit for general obligation bonds; however, if calculated for all bonds (including revenue bonds), the utilization would be 7.93%.City Financial Statements
Lobbying335%During the past two years, Orem has spent an average of $12,000 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 (46/50)

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

Metric Rank Category Weight Description Reference
City-owned Enterprises2215%This city owns 3 enterprises that could instead be offered by the private market: a redevelopment agency; a fitness center; a water park; City Financial Statements
Beer Sale Restrictions2110%This city regulates the retail sale of beer by prohibiting sales from 1 am to 7 am.3-3-4
Alcohol Licensing4810%The city requires $600 for a retail beer license, $600 for a restaurant license, and $670 for a tavern license.City Fee Schedule
Sales Tax3720%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 5.25%, and a leasing tax at 7.5%.State Tax Commission
Business Licensing4635%This city charges the following licensing fees: $90 for a home occupation license; $250 for a small commercial license; $6010 for a large commercial license; $150 for a temporary firework stand; $150 for a temporary christmas tree lot; and $131 for two solicitor licenses.City Fee Schedule
Commerce Regulations2310%In Orem, pawn brokers must be closed from 10pm to 7am. No dancing in dance halls is allowed between 1am and 8am. Daycare services may not have out of door activities from 9pm to 8am. Private schools or daycares in residential zones may not generate traffic from 9pm to 5:30am. And home occupations may not generate more than 2 trips per hour, or any traffic between 6pm and 7:30am.12-5-5(N)
12-5-7(I)
22-6-9(F)(9)
22-6-9(G)
22-14-15(D)(5)
, 12.5.8(i)
8.1.21

City Data

Overall Ranking: 42/50

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

Year incorporated: 1919
Population (2010): 88,328
FoG: Six-member Council

County: Utah
Class: 2
Cluster: A

MHI: $52,960.00

Best Score

Free Speech

Worst Score

Alcohol Licensing