Billy Hesterman
Vice President, Utah Taxpayers Association
August 3, 2015



Utah Taxpayers Association Cost of City Governments Report finds Salt Lake City and South Salt Lake to be the most expensive cities for taxpayers; West Haven and Riverton the least expensive.

The Utah Taxpayers Association has released its 2015 Cost of City Governments Report. The report analyzes the cost of governments in Utah’s largest 50 cities using two metrics: the cost of the city government per resident, and how much of a resident’s income is consumed by city taxes and fees.

On average, Utah city governments take $25 of each $1,000 earned by residents in the city, representing 2.5% of taxpayer income. Utah cities also collect an average of $568 in revenue per person. 

“City governments are often overlooked, but arguably have the most impact on our daily lives,” said Billy Hesterman, vice president of the Utah Taxpayers Association. “As we move into Truth-in-Taxation season in Utah — when cities evaluate and approve property tax increases — it is important that taxpayers understand how much their city is spending and what that means to them in their daily lives.”

The city in Utah with the highest cost of government is South Salt Lake, which takes $64.26 of each $1,000 earned in the city (or 6.4%). The lowest cost city out of Utah’s 50 largest cities is Riverton, which takes $9.71 of each $1,000 earned in the city (or .9%). It is important to note that cities do vary in the services that they provide.

“Taxpayers should remind city officials that the money they are spending is money taken right out of a family’s budget. Every dollar should be carefully considered when elected officials are crafting a city budget,” said Hesterman. 

The Utah Taxpayers Association is a non-profit 501(c)4 organization that regularly reviews the budgets and tax rates of Utah’s cities, counties and school districts. To provide a more standardized means of comparing how well elected officials control public spending, the Utah Taxpayers Association, in cooperation with Strata Policy, has created this report. An explanation of the study’s methodology can be found in the report. For methodology-related questions, please contact Dr. Ryan Yonk at or 435-232-5916.

View the full report here: 2015 Cost of City Governments Report (FY 2014)

Combine the Cost of City Governments report with the Cost of County Governments report for a clearer picture of the overall burden of local government.