The 2015 Utah's Freest Cities Ranking

Payson (28/50)(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 (33/50)

This category compiles scores on 17 different data points to determine how well Payson 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 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 Speech3015%This city requires a permit to stage a protest on public property, but does not require a fee.
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.15-2-4-9, Utah County regulation
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.7-01-010(3)
Violation of Ordinances210%While some ordinances may impose a specific penalty, in Payson the default penalty for a violation of any city ordinance, if not specified, is a class C misdemeanor which carries a fine of up to $750.1-03-040
Gun Regulation815%Under authority granted from state law, Payson has chosen to regulate the discharge of firearms in city limits; however, the city's law does make an exception for self-defense.7-01-050, 7-01-50

Private Property (33/50)

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

Metric Rank Category Weight Description Reference
Conditional Use Permit Fees2810%The cost of a conditional use permit is $300. Additionally, the city may charge a fee of $200 for a hearing.Permit application
Home Building Fees3310%The total cost of permit fees for building a typical single family home is $9,208. This includes $1,834 in permit fees, $7,224 in impact fees, $150 in site plan approval fees, and no plan check fees.Per city staff
Animal Restrictions1315%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 6 chickens, and does not limit the number of beehives.6-01-240, 6-01-101
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 (based on non-permitted land use)
Taxes & Cost of Government2230%The cost of government in Payson as a share of the total taxable economic base is $76 per $10,000. As a share of total personal income, the cost is $285 per $10,000. On a per capita basis, the cost is $380. The city gets 20% of its tax revenue from property taxes, 37% of its tax revenue from sales tax, and 43% from other sources including fees and fines.City Financial Statements
Bonded Debt4115%The city does not have any general obligation debt. However, if counting revenue bonds, the city's debt limit utilization would be 19.65%.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 (18/50)

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

Metric Rank Category Weight Description Reference
City-owned Enterprises3515%This city owns 5 enterprises that could instead be offered by the private market: a redevelopment agency; an electric power company; a garbage collection service; a golf course; a water park; City Financial Statements
Beer Sale Restrictions1210%This city regulates the retail sale of beer by prohibiting sales from 1 am to 6 am.4-2-4
Alcohol Licensing3310%The city requires $350 for a retail beer license, $350 for a restaurant license, and $350 for a tavern license.City Fee Schedule
Sales Tax1820%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 5.25%, and a leasing tax at 7.5%.State Tax Commission
Business Licensing1335%This city charges the following licensing fees: $75 for a home occupation license; $85 for a small commercial license; $85 for a large commercial license; $40 for a temporary firework stand; $40 for a temporary christmas tree lot; and $100 for two solicitor licenses.City Fee Schedule
Commerce Regulations610%In Payson, home occupations may not have visitors from 10pm to 7am. Tanning beds as a home occupation may not be used from 9pm to 7am.19-16-3(2)(b)
19-16-2(1)(b)(iii)
, 18.01.150

City Data

Overall Ranking: 28/50

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

Year incorporated: 1853
Population (2010): 18,294
FoG: Six-member Council

County: Utah
Class: 4
Cluster: B

MHI: $59,250.00

Best Score

Daytime Curfew

Worst Score

Bonded Debt