The 2015 Utah's Freest Cities Ranking

Provo (45/50)(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 (46/50)

This category compiles scores on 17 different data points to determine how well Provo 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.Code Publishing database
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 Speech4515%This city requires a permit to stage a protest on public property, along with payment of a $5 fee.Special Event Permit
Daytime Curfew110%This city does not impose a daytime curfew on minors.
Vice Regulation1310%This city exceeds the regulations of state law on public consumption of alcohol by prohibiting beer in a list of public places. Smoking is also prohibited in certain outdoor areas.9-19-090, Utah County regulation
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 attmpting to hide oneself after dark in a high-crime area.9-14-200
Violation of Ordinances810%While some ordinances may impose a specific penalty, in Provo 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 $1,000.1-03-010(1), 1-03-010(2)
Gun Regulation4615%Under authority granted from state law, Provo 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 code also has additional provisions regulating firearms. This includes:
• Carrying dangerous weapons into treatment facilities is prohibited.
9-03-010, 9-14-120

Private Property (40/50)

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

Metric Rank Category Weight Description Reference
Conditional Use Permit Fees4010%The cost of a conditional use permit is $360. Additionally, the city may charge a fee of $30 for public hearing notice.Fee Schedule
Home Building Fees1810%The total cost of permit fees for building a typical single family home is $7,099. This includes $1,834 in permit fees, $4,074 in impact fees, $1,191 in site plan approval fees, and no plan check fees.Per city staff
Animal Restrictions3015%Chickens are permitted in at least one residential zone with a $20 permit. 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 5 beehives.8-06-070, 8-02-190, 8-03
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.6.26.020
Taxes & Cost of Government3930%The cost of government in Provo as a share of the total taxable economic base is $98 per $10,000. As a share of total personal income, the cost is $419 per $10,000. On a per capita basis, the cost is $491. The city gets 25% of its tax revenue from property taxes, 28% of its tax revenue from sales tax, and 47% from other sources including fees and fines.City Financial Statements
Bonded Debt3815%The city is currently utilizing 5.56% of thier debt limit for general obligation bonds; however, if calculated for all bonds (including revenue bonds), the utilization would be 10.82%.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 (38/50)

The final category includes 35 different data points in an effort to review Provo'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: a redevelopment agency; an electric power company; a garbage collection service; a recycling service; a golf course; 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.6-14-140
Alcohol Licensing4210%The city requires $350 for a retail beer license, $450 for a restaurant license, and $550 for a tavern license.City Fee Schedule
Sales Tax2220%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 5.75%, and a leasing tax at 7.5%.State Tax Commission
Business Licensing1735%This city charges the following licensing fees: $37 for a home occupation license; $125 for a small commercial license; $800 for a large commercial license; $384 for a temporary firework stand; $309 for a temporary christmas tree lot; and $152 for two solicitor licenses.City Fee Schedule
Commerce Regulations1110%In Provo, entertainment businesses must close between 1am and 8am. Home occupations employing people not living in the residence must make them leave between 5pm and 8am.6-15-060(1)
14-41-060(3)
, 2.15.140

City Data

Overall Ranking: 45/50

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

Year incorporated: 1850
Population (2010): 112,488
FoG: Council-Mayor

County: Utah
Class: 1
Cluster: A

MHI: $39,688.00

Best Score

Daytime Curfew

Worst Score

City-owned Enterprises